Marines Defeat Terrorist Attack on US Consulate
Since the story about the attack onthe US Consulate in Saudi Arabia 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 Arabia, guns 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 dead. "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 past the 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 forces enough 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 Philippines, 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 diplomatic 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 the gate, 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."