Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Update, Effective 10 Minutes Ago, Attack on US Citizens

According to AFP ten minutes ago, a former employee of US defense contractor Vinnell Arabia who shot and killed one US colleague and injured another in the Saudi capital of Riyadh earlier today, it is indeed rare for such attacks to occur in the Kingdom.
A US diplomat identified the gunman as a disgruntled former employee of Vinnell Arabia. The alleged shooter, Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, 24, "worked at the same company as the victims, and was recently dismissed from his job due to drug-related issues," Riyadh's embassy in Washington said in a statement.
The victims of Tuesday's gas station shooting in Riyadh also worked at Vinnell Arabia, the diplomat said, ruling out terrorism as a possible motive for the attack.
Vinnell Arabia provides training for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed one American was killed and a second sustained superficial injuries.
COMMENT: Following the attack near King Fahd football stadium, a shootout occurred between the gunman and security forces, a police spokesman said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
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A third American escaped unharmed, police said, adding the assailant was wounded and subsequently arrested.
According to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, the assailant was described as Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, 24, a US-Saudi dual national.
Tuesday's shooting was the first deadly attack on Westerners in Saudi Arabia since several were killed in a wave of al-Qaeda violence between 2003 and 2006.
It comes as Saudi Arabia participates in a US-led campaign of air strikes against jihadists of IS militants  in both Iraq and Syria.
Saudi pilots who participated in the initial late-September strikes against IS received online death threats.
In January, a Saudi court sentenced an al-Qaeda militant to death and jailed 10 others over a May 2004 attack that killed six Westerners and a policeman.
The defendants, seven of them brothers, were convicted of aiding assailants who attacked a US company in the northwestern port town of Yanbu, killing two Americans, two Britons, an Australian and a Canadian, as well as a Saudi.
Saudi Arabia's top cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, in August urged young Muslims not to be influenced by "calls for jihad...on perverted principles," and described al-Qaeda and IS jihadists as "enemy number one" of Islam.

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