Saudi Arabia: Westerners have decided to stay

Western diplomats today downplayed fears of an exodus of expatriates from &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Saudi Arabia as the US reiterated a warning to its citizens to shun the kingdom after a brazen attack on its consulate in Jeddah.

"People here have gone through many attacks (on Westerners). They are aware of the situation and have decided to stay," British embassy spokesman Barrie Peach said.

He said there was no definite count for the British community in the oil-rich kingdom "because not every expatriate registers with the consulate", reports Melbourne Herald Sun.

According to the SwissInfo, Saudi Arabia is trying to discover how militants penetrated the elaborate defences of the U.S. consulate in what &to=http:// ' target=_blank>al-Qaeda said was a reprisal for last month's U.S. assault on Falluja in Iraq.

A statement in the name of al Qaeda's Saudi wing said the "squadron of martyr Abu Annas al-Shami breached the bastion of the Crusaders" in what it called "the blessed Falluja attack".

U.S.-led forces have blasted their way into Falluja to hunt for insurgents and foreign fighters, including those loyal to America's top enemy in Iraq, al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Relatives of Shami, Zarqawi's spiritual mentor, say he was killed in an earlier U.S. strike in Iraq.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli warned that there could be more attacks in Saudi Arabia.

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