Saudi wounds French consulate guard in Jeddah knife attack

Friday, 30 October 2020 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

JEDDAH (AFP): A Saudi citizen wounded a guard in a knife attack at the French consulate in Jeddah Thursday, officials said, as France faces growing anger over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The assault follows another knife attack at a church in the French city of Nice that left three people dead and several others wounded, in what authorities are treating as the latest jihadist attack to rock the country.

“The assailant was apprehended by Saudi security forces immediately after the attack. The guard was taken to hospital and his life is not in danger,” the French embassy said in a statement.

Police in Mecca province, where Jeddah is situated, said the attacker was a Saudi, but it did not give the nationality of the guard, who they said had sustained minor injuries.

The French embassy in Riyadh strongly condemned the attack and urged its nationals in Saudi Arabia to exercise “extreme vigilance”.

Neither the Saudi authorities nor the French embassy gave any indication of the motivation for the attack.

But it comes after French President Emmanuel Macron vigorously defended the publication of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on free speech grounds.

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia -- home to Islam’s holiest sites -- has criticised the cartoons, saying it rejected “any attempt to link Islam and terrorism” but it stopped short of condemning the French leadership.

Macron’s defence of Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish drawings of the Prophet, which is forbidden under Islam, came after the brutal murder on October 16 of a French school teacher who had shown cartoons to pupils during a class discussion about freedom of speech.


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