Amid ISIS violence, Saudi king warns of threat to U.S.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that extremists could attack Europe and the U.S. if there is not a strong international response to terrorism after Islamist extremists seized a wide territory across Iraq and Syria.

While not mentioning any terrorist groups by name, King Abdullah's statement appeared aimed at drawing Washington and NATO forces into a wider fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and its supporters in the region. Saudi Arabia openly backs rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, but is concerned that the breakaway al Qaeda group could also turn those very same weapons on the kingdom.

"I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America," he said at a reception for foreign ambassadors Friday.

Official Saudi media carried the king's comments early Saturday.

"These terrorists do not know the name of humanity and you have witnessed them severing heads and giving them to children to walk with in the street," the king said, urging the ambassadors to relay his message directly to their heads of state.

CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman reports from Washington that President Obama didn't talk military planning Friday night when he met with Democratic donors, but he said that he understands that Americans are anxious about the growing threat of ISIS, and he acknowledged that it's a dangerous time in the Middle East.

A day after the president said that he doesn't have a strategy yet for confronting ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, in Syria, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Mr. Obama is waiting for his defense secretary to present a plan.

"There are some who probably would make the case that it's OK to not have a formulated, comprehensive strategy but, just as one pundit I know recently suggested, that we could just go drop some bombs and see what happens," Earnest told reporters Friday. "That is not what the president believes is a smart approach."

Echoing that message, Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby said the Defense Department doesn't have binders full of plans at any given moment.

"Planners down in Tampa and planners here in the Pentagon continually refine and change and update planning options for potential military activity," Kirby told reporters Friday. "It is an ongoing effort."

The U.S. military campaign against ISIS is so far limited to targets in Iraq, but Mr. Obama is considering expanding the mission to also include Syria, where this week he ordered surveillance flights.

ISIS has been fighting moderate rebels, other extremists and Assad's forces in Syria for nearly three years. Iraq has faced an onslaught by the Sunni extremists and their supporters since early this year, and the country continues to be roiled by instability.

While providing arms and support to Sunni militants in Syria, Saudi Arabia has denied directly funding or backing ISIS.

British officials raised the country's terror threat level Friday to "severe," its second-highest level, because of developments in Iraq and Syria, but there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent. The White House has said it does not expect the U.S. to bump up its terrorism threat warning level.

Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally in the region, has taken an increasingly active role in criticizing ISIS. Earlier this month, the country's top cleric described ISIS and al Qaeda as Islam's No. 1 enemy and said that Muslims have been their first victims. State-backed Saudi clerics who once openly called on citizens to fight in Syria can now face steep punishment and the kingdom has threatened to imprison its citizens who fight in Syria and Iraq.

A decade ago, al Qaeda militants launched a string of attacks in the kingdom aimed at toppling the monarchy. Saudi officials responded with a massive crackdown that saw many flee to neighboring Yemen. In the time since, the kingdom has not seen any massive attacks, though it has imprisoned suspected militants and sentenced others to death.

Meanwhile Saturday, police in Iraq said a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car into an army checkpoint in the town of Youssifiyah, killing 11 people, including four soldiers, and wounding at least 24 people. Youssifiyah is 12 miles south of Baghdad.

Hours later, a roadside bomb targeting an army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded five in Latifiyah, a town 20 miles south of Baghdad.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

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