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Last Updated: Monday, 7 June, 2004, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Saudi attack: Your reaction
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Saudi commandos have stormed an expatriate housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar where militants were holding dozens of foreign hostages.

The hostages were captured on Saturday by gunmen who attacked several targets linked to the oil industry, killing at least 10 people before they entered the Oasis compound.

A statement purported to be from an al-Qaeda-linked group, carried on an Islamic website, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Saudi government recently launched a high-profile assault on militants following several attacks on foreigners.

Did you witness the attacks in Khobar or the operation to rescue the hostages? How do you think this will affect stability in Saudi Arabia? Send us your views.


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

The Saudi Government should wake up to what it has created here. The Saudi people are fed up seeing all the money that is earned from the production of the oil go to the Royal Family and the US. The powers that be in Saudi should take a long hard look at their "security forces" and get rid of those who are corrupt and collaborating with these terrorists. When this happens and we can see it happening, maybe then westerners will return to the Kingdom.
Christine, Riyadh, KSA

I'm not sure that they could pay me enough to go there now
Paul, UK
I contemplated taking a job in Saudi Arabia, last year. The pay was about equivalent to UK daily rates. I rejected it on the basis that I would want several times that to go there. I'm now very glad that they could not increase the offer because I'm not sure that they could pay me enough to go there now.
Paul, UK

It upsets me that the attacks have to happen at this time, many of my friends cannot now go to school and it is ruining my education. I find that life in Saudi has deteriorated over the recent years and the atmosphere that us expatriates receive is now an unwelcome one. With the recent attacks and the suggestion of more, many expatriates in the compound in which I live will terminate their contacts and leave the country. I believe this the right thing to do as we have come here to give the country education and knowledge and we are in the eyes of al-Qaeda 'infidels' trying to ruin the country, they have it all wrong
Mark, Dhahan, Saudi Arabia

Killing someone in cold blood and then dragging the body round the town? What a degenerate country.
Geoff, London

Saudi needs immediate reforms
Ariston, UK
The Saudi authorities hailed the operation a success. 22 Killed and 3 hostage takers escape. Do we call that a success? With all the kind of rules and regulations in place which even restricts freedom of speech and movement disasters like these happen only goes to show that Saudi needs immediate reforms.
Ariston, UK

The men on Arab streets are filled with hatred and anger on the American policies in Iraq. Had it not been for the strict Saudi Government; no American would have been alive here. The US harassment and sexual abuses in Iraq have led to endangerment of the safety of their own citizens worldwide. The US should get out of Iraq fully and let the citizens decide for themselves; and let poor innocent US citizens live in peace in this world outside USA.
Afreen Baig, Saudia Arabia

I left Al Khobar just over a year ago. My wife will not let me go back to Saudi Arabia. I was there for 18 years. All of these compounds mentioned in the news in Riyadh and in Al Khobar have been close to where I lived or where close friends live. I liked working in Saudi Arabia and know many Saudi's who I have a great respect for. But there are also many Saudi's who want change. I think they will allow these recent things to continue happening so change will come quicker. I think it will only get worse.
John, Attard Malta

Every foreigner involved with drilling, collection and distribution of oil in the Middle East needs to leave. Now. It's not like they have any right to be there.
Jack, Glasgow, Scotland

Everyone seems to be in a state of shock here right now
Audrey Chapman-Jones, Dhahan, Saudi Arabia
I do not live in the Oasis compound but have been there many times. I live in a different compound, Saudi Aramco, which is approximately about 15 minutes away from Oasis. Everyone seems to be in a state of shock here right now. Sadly, after living here for the past 15 years, I have become "immune" to these sort of occurrences as they happen approximately each year. This by far though was the scariest incident. Everyone is basically re-assessing their situation now whether they should stay or leave the country.
Audrey Chapman-Jones, Dhahan, Saudi Arabia

What happened will not affect Saudi Arabia alone but the whole world. The message is that you cannot rely on Middle East oil for the economic wellbeing of the world as the area is in such state of turmoil and this is escalating. There will be another industrial revolution to find an alternative fuel quickly. What's happening is just a quirky way natural forces changes the world we live in.
Hassan Haron, Malaysia

The aim of the terrorists is not only to expel so-called infidels from Saudi Arabia, but also to overthrow the Saudi regime. The Saudi rulers are now seeing the results of their tacit support, and free rein given to the Wahabi clerics. These attacks are becoming more frequent, and could seriously affect oil production
Alec, UK

This is a direct result of the US policies in Iraq. It has and it will destabilise the whole region in the near future.
George Rad, Los Angeles

Expat work is no longer worth the risk
Paolo, UAE
Saudis and other Gulf countries are not equipped to deal with the security threat to expats in their countries. Work as an expat may be profitable, but now a physical threat from extremists has been added to the abuse expats have to suffer at the hands of Gulf Arab people in general. Expat work is no longer worth the risk.
Paolo, Dubai, UAE

This attack isn't surprising at all. Considering what is going on in Palestine and Iraq at the moment, I'm struck by the relatively low number of attacks. You don't have to be a member of al-Qaeda to understand how outraged the Arabs must be at the moment.
Bilal Patel, UK

It is foolish to believe that a "statement" on a website, claiming to be by someone from al-Qaeda, is enough for us to believe it. OK, would you believe me if I admitted to it?
James, UK

I agree with James, UK. A statement on the internet claiming responsibility for the attacks is just not convincing enough. Its a shame the media never back a lot of their ideas by evidence. How come we never hear of these websites that portray these views?
Aisha Abbasi, London

I had the great opportunity to spend several years in Kingdom. It is very distressing for those of us that had positive experiences there to see this type of barbaric assault. I would ask everyone to bear in mind that not all Arabs are terrorists and not all terrorists are Arabs. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this tragedy.
Beth New, Wilmington NC

They really have to re-assess the security of these so called secure residential compounds
Roland Said Mowad, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
I live in the Oasis Compound, where the hostages were being held, but fortunately I had slept at a friend's house the night before and was safe from danger. My parents, however, were in the compound and called me telling that they heard gunfire and explosions. They fortunately weren't taken hostage or injured by the terrorists. I couldn't believe that with all that security the terrorists got in. They really have to re-assess their security of these so called "secure" residential compounds. It's hard being a westerner these days in Saudi Arabia.
Roland Said Mowad, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

The Oasis compound is an ultra- luxurious Western compound, no doubt fuelling feelings of resentment in those who oppose Western presence in the Kingdom. I have taught at both the American and British Schools in Al Khobar, and my husband still works in Dhahran. He has been in touch several times today assuring me that Westerners in other communities are lying low.
Barbara B, UK/SA

Luckily I got the call 5 minutes before leaving for the office in the Petroleum Centre (the building under attack). My colleague was pulling in to the car park when our security guards came running out and turned him away. Eyewitness accounts so far tell of two bodies being brought out of the building, and there are reports of a hostage situation, though it is unclear whether this is confused with the situation at Oasis.
Ifan Morgan, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

We should send in a multi national force to protect the oil installations right now. If we loose these wells to the bad guys we will have to go back to the dark ages. No oil no economy for France, Germany or the rest of the world.
Katz, Dallas TX, USA

There is continued gunfire between the attackers and the security forces
Oliver Alabaster, Washington D.C., USA
We have just spoken to my sister-in-law who has been hiding in a cupboard for 6 hours - and is still there. She awoke to see black hooded men enter a house across the street. She then saw her neighbour run out the back door, and then saw her shot in the legs. Now the gunmen are holed up in the house next to hers, and there is continued gunfire between the attackers and the security forces. Her greatest fear is that there may more militants roaming the compound, that bullets could penetrate the walls where she is hiding, and that they could shoot their way into her house in an attempt to evade the security forces. Fortunately she has a cell phone and a land phone in the cupboard with her and can keep in contact with us.
Oliver Alabaster, Washington D.C, USA

These are difficult moments here in Khobar. We are trying to account for various Dutch families and other European are living at Oasis at this moment. A number of companies and individuals, (I work for an oil company) have to think again about the reasons to be here any longer. The Oasis compound had transformed itself already over the last year into an immense fortress of security. Apparently there is a message to be heard in the attacking of the most defended compound.
Michel Lemoine, Dhahran (Al Khobar)

I am a resident at the Oasis compound where the current hostages are been held. They are about 200 meter from my villa. There seems to be 4 gunmen holding hostages at the tower hotel, which is part of the Oasis, compound facility. The whole thing started around 8:00am local time when I heard the gunfire after We are under lock down until the situation is deemed to be safe. We cannot leave our villas at all in fear of snipers mistaken us for gunmen.
Anon, Khobar-Saudi

The other residents of the compound have been brought to a safe location
Diana Ras-Rongen, Khobar
I live in Euro village compound and I was outside when I heard the gunshots. Soon my husband called and from then we had to stay put on the compound. The latest news is that a Dutch couple are hostages in the Oasis compound. My neighbour called them to ask if there was a hostage situation going on and they could tell they were actually the hostages! The other residents of the compound have been brought to a safe location where soldiers are protecting them.
Diana Ras-Rongen, Khobar

Going to work this morning at 0730, past the Petroleum building which is let to various Saudi and foreign companies, at the end of our road housing many compounds, the security forces were fanning out around the building and closing off access both sides of the dual carriageway. Light armoured personnel carriers were moving in as well as police, four shots were fired at three Saudi terrorists and two were hit.

At that point I turned around and headed back to the compound. All access roads are guarded by armed soldiers with machine gun nests surrounding every compound. Oasis compound is at the other end of our road and terrorists had attacked this at the same time and placed snipers on the roof. All roads are shut and all Westerners confined to their compounds.

Khobar is some 80 miles from the Hydrocarbon process industries in Jubail and Abqaiq where many expatriates work but live in compounds in Khobar. Most expatriates in the Eastern Province are involved in one or another with the oil sector.
Colin Hewetson, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

I live close by in an compound and heard the gunshot and the helicopters circling around over the area
Annet Lobbezoo, al -Khobar

My house is really close to where these incidents took place (Silver Tower). I actually had no idea what was going on until we received a phone call from Dubai from a friend asking us if we were all okay. Moments later we could hear ambulances and helicopters above us. I hope the people responsible for these atrocities are brought to justice.
Rachael, Khobar

The area is surrounded by the police and we can't go to our compounds
Mehmet Emre Gorgulu, Khobar, Saudi Arabia
I live in a small compound between the Oasis and Petroleum compounds. Early this morning I heard police sirens and the gunshots, now the area is surrounded by the police and we can't go to our compounds.
Mehmet Emre Gorgulu, al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia

I work as a lecturer at KFUPM - a university - near Khobar. Many of the 90 or so European and American staff feel vulnerable to such an attack occurring at the university.
Laurence Speight(originally Belfast, N Ireland)

I just came back from Khobar were I lived for two years. And my brother and his wife are still living there, he called me about an hour ago to assure me of their safety. Things are getting out of hand as Saudi security is nothing but a false show of power and extremely vulnerable in every way.
Amir Pajouyan, Tucson Arizona, USA

My husband and I live in Saudi Arabia... We Westerners are not there to "steal" Saudi Arabia's riches... We were invited to come there to help them recover their riches.
Wanda, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

If the royal family wants to stay in control, they will have to relinquish most of the oil wealth for the benefit of the people. They're getting $300m a day in oil revenues. Where is all this money going? There are Saudis going hungry, there aren't nearly enough schools, and there is massive unemployment. The situation could escalate into another Bolshevik or French revolution.
Jayne Garcia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

All the streets are empty mostly. Everyone is hiding in their houses. No-one knows what to do. All the oil compounds are surrounded with military and police cars. It's hard to go out anywhere. People have started to store food.
Saman, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

The USA sows hatred across every continent and now they are reaping their rewards. Sadly only civilians suffer.
Vajid Ali, Birmingham, England

That anyone could even begin to try to excuse the actions of these terrorists by blaming America shows the mentality that has to be dealt with among many ordinary people before you can defeat the terrorists.
Nate, Wichita USA

The Oasis compound is just beside where I live. The situation here is quite calm as there is a lot of security here, and all the roads to my compound have been closed. People are not really frightened here but everyone is a bit worried. All the foreigners are planning to leave the country as soon as possible. Most of the schools were closed and might be closed tomorrow too. I just hope everything gets better soon.
Saman, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

I lived in Saudi Arabia and experienced the kindness of the Arabs on many occasions. How sad it is that a few militant, radical individuals make everyone all over the world view all Muslim people as terrorists.
Jamie, SLC/USA




SEE ALSO:
Hostages held in Saudi oil attack
29 May 04  |  Middle East
Saudi Arabia's 'war on terror'
29 May 04  |  Middle East
German shot dead in Saudi capital
22 May 04  |  Middle East
Eyewitness: Shock in Saudi Arabia
07 May 04  |  Middle East
Concern grows over Saudi stability
13 May 04  |  Middle East



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