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Goff condemns Riyadh bombing

Goff condemns Riyadh bombing

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today condemned the terrorist bombings in Riyadh and offered his sympathy to the families of people killed and wounded.

Saudi Arabian authorities have confirmed 29 people died and 194 were wounded, although the death toll is expected to increase significantly.

New Zealand's Embassy in Riyadh said none of the 450 New Zealanders registered as living in the capital had been hurt in the three blasts, which severely damaged compounds housing western nationals.

"The government condemns this terrorist attack. We deeply regret the loss of life, and our sympathy goes out to the families of those who have died, and those who are injured," Mr Goff said.

"This was clearly a well-planned terrorist attack, with all the fingerprints of an al Qaeda operation.

"It is further evidence that terrorism is a continuing threat and justifies not only New Zealand's military and security contributions in Afghanistan, but also the frigate currently patrolling in the Gulf, the P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft which left last week, and the C-130 Hercules which will shortly be deployed to the region."

Mr Goff said the Embassy in Riyadh had accounted for all New Zealanders known to be living in the effected compounds. The Foreign Ministry is continuing to receive calls from worried families in New Zealand and has made good progress in tracing people and reassuring enquirers that their relatives are safe.

"There was one New Zealand family and two other New Zealanders living in the al Hamra compound, the main focus of the attack, but they are all safe. There were no New Zealanders listed as living in the other compounds damaged by the attack."

Mr Goff said that in light of the attack, the government was recommending that New Zealanders consider deferring all non-essential travel to Saudi Arabia.

New Zealanders already there should continue to be vigilant and maintain a high level of security awareness. They should avoid crowded or landmark places, and places where westerners gather.

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