December 08, 2004
Marines Defeat Terrorist Attack on US Consulate
Since the story about the attack onthe US Consulate in
broke, we've been wondering if the Marine Security Guards were
involved. The Marine Security Guard Battalion sends small teams of
Marines to guard embassies and other US posts all over the world. Now
we know that they were able to hold off the attackers until the Saudi
police destroyed them.
New York Daily News
December 8, 2004
Marines Saved 'Em From Qaeda
By Corky Siemaszko, Daily News Staff Writer
When the Jihadis burst into the U.S. Consulate in Saudi
blazing and screaming, "Where are the Americans!," the diplomats
quickly fled to a panic room.
"I certainly was worried," Consul-General Gina
Abercrombie-Winstanley said yesterday, a day after the daring daylight
Al Qaeda raid that left two Americans wounded and five consular workers
"It's not good to hear gunfire outside but I did have
complete faith in the security of the building."
That's because the five militants who managed to shoot
Saudi guards at the gate were no match for the Marines manning the main
chancery building - where the American staff had sought sanctuary.
Witnesses said the terrorists fired on Marines from
behind trees and
forced several workers to serve as human shields, ordering them to yell
"God is Great!" as they shot over their shoulders.
But the Marines held them off, giving Saudi special
time to help repel the attack. Three of the attackers were killed, two
more were wounded. And there were unconfirmed reports that one of Saudi
Arabia's most-wanted militants, Saleh Al Oufi, was among the captives.
"Marines were performing heroically protecting the
chancery and the
citizens who were inside," Ambassador James Oberwetter said. "The
chancery building was not breached."
Still, the fact that the terrorists were able to get as
far as they did "shows the need for improvement," he said.
The slain consular workers were from Yemen, Sudan, the
Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the State Department said. Al Qaeda claimed
credit yesterday for the attack on "one of the bastions of the
crusaders in the Arabian Peninsula."
The militants "clearly understood how cars entered the
compound and, in my view, had scoped it out," Oberwetter said.
They slipped into the consulate on foot by following a
car past the concrete barriers, but were confronted by the mission's
first line of defense.
"The terrorists began to engage the local Saudi staff at
who returned fire and a great firefight broke out," Oberwetter said.
"Regrettably the terrorists were not taken down there and were able to
access the compound."
Witnesses say that once inside, militants burned the
U.S. flag, terrorized staffers and took hostages.
Oberwetter gave no details of the hostage-taking but
said Saudi forces "freed the compound from the five terrorists."