"All compounds, bases and means of transport, especially Western and American airlines, will be a direct target for our coming operations in the near future," said the statement, posted on Monday on a pro-al-Qaida site on the internet. 

It asked Muslims to keep away from Americans and other Westerners to avoid falling victim to an attack by the armed network led by Saudi-born Usama bin Ladin. 

"We also warn security forces and guards of Crusader (Western) compounds and American bases and all those who stand with America, its agents ... and the tyrants of the Saudi government, and urge them to repent," said the statement, signed by al-Qaida's Organisation in the Arabian Peninsula. 

Serial assaults

The statement followed a gun attack that killed a BBC cameraman and critically wounded a BBC correspondent in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday, the fourth in five weeks on foreigners in the kingdom. 

A week earlier armed al-Qaida fighters killed 22 people, 19 of
them foreigners, in a shooting and hostage-taking spree in the oil city of Khobar. The assault helped push oil prices to record highs before producers promised to raise output.