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The BBC's Julia Wheeler
"One person was seriously injured"
 real 56k

Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 06:30 GMT
New Saudi car blast
map of saudi arabia
Three British nationals have been injured in an explosion that ripped through a car in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.

The two men and a woman were rushed to hospital but the British Foreign Office said the wounds were not thought to be life threatening.

There is no indication as to who or what caused the blast - the second such explosion in the capital in less than a week.

Last week, a British national was killed and his wife injured in what British officials said was a deliberate attack.

The Foreign Office has been urged to step up its security by one terrorism expert.

'Need for enhanced vigilance'

Professor Paul Wilkinson, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrew's University, said: "There is increasing evidence of the need to galvanise our activities in improving security for expatriates and organisations in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East.

"There is now every reason to enhance the vigilance of our security, and British security measures must be based on the assumption that British targets are also at risk."

Protection of British diplomats should be upgraded and British workers in Saudi should pay extra attention to security briefings, said Prof Wilkinson.

Wednesday's explosion comes at a time of heightened tension in the region because of the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

It took place at 10.55pm (1955 GMT) on Wednesday, in an upmarket district of the capital.

One of the three was said to be in a stable condition with injuries to his right leg, while the other two suffered minor injuries, the police said.

An investigation has been launched into a possible link between the two blasts.

Thousands of British ex-pats

British nationals in the Gulf have been advised to be vigilant and those in Saudi Arabia have been told to take extra security measures.

About 30,000 Britons work in Saudi Arabia, many of them in the defence industry.

But, after last Friday's attack, the UK Foreign Office said that there was no history of terrorist attacks against Britons in Saudi Arabia.

In 1995 and 1996 there were two powerful explosions against US targets in Riyadh and eastern Saudi Arabia's main oil centre of Dahran, which together killed 24 American citizens.

The attacks were blamed on Muslim militants trying to drive western forces from the Arabian Peninsula.

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See also:

13 Oct 00 | Middle East
The West in danger
17 Nov 00 | Middle East
Briton killed in Saudi blast
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