Mecca / Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Saudi Arabian embassy in Bangladesh yesterday announced that one of its senior diplomats, Khalaf Al Ali, was shot and killed in the capital, Dhaka, in the early hours of the morning. The embassy revealed that the diplomat was killed after being shot in the chest.
Saudi ambassador to Bangladesh, Dr. Abdullah Al Bussairy, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the kingdom’s embassy in Bangladesh received the news of the death of diplomat Khalaf Al Ali, aged 45, with great sorrow. Al Ali worked as the second secretary at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Bangladesh.
Al Bussairy revealed that “Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has been closely following up on the details of this incident since it occurred”. He also confirmed that the Saudi foreign minister is coordinating with the Bangladeshi officials at the highest level.
The Saudi envoy added that Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had telephoned Prince Saud al-Faisal to express her condolences at the killing of the Saudi diplomat and confirm that Bangladesh is committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The Saudi ambassador to Bangladesh also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Khalaf Al Ali was known as being polite and patriotic and that he was a great example of honesty and moral character. He revealed that this incident had left a deep sense of sorrow and loss amongst all members of the Saudi diplomatic community, adding that “the Saudi embassy in Bangladesh has lost one of its sons, and we will strive to cooperate with the Bangladeshi authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are punished.”
Asked whether the Saudi embassy in Bangladesh had received any death threats prior to this fatal shooting, Dr. Al Bussairy stressed that there were no such threats against Saudi diplomats in Dhaka. He also revealed that Al Ali lived in one of the residential buildings in the “diplomatic quarter” of Dhaka, adding that there is a strong police and security presence in the area. He also revealed that Bangladesh has never witnessed the killing of a foreign diplomat in this manner, and that Saudi Arabia is awaiting the results of the Bangladeshi investigations into this crime.
Al Bussairy stressed that this incident has not raised any doubts in the minds of any Saudi diplomats regarding their desire to serve their country, and he also expressed his condolences to the Al Ali family and the Saudi leadership.
The Bangladeshi police announced that the Saudi diplomat was shot and killed by an unknown gunmen and that his body was found near the Saudi embassy in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
For his part, Khalid Mohamed Al Ali, the deceased Saudi diplomat’s elder brother, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his brother is a “martyr of the homeland” who “dedicated his life to serving his country.” He added that his brother joins the “martyrs who had given their lives in the service of their holy country.”
Khalid Mohamed Al Ali denied that his brother had been subject to any threats or harassment, confirming that he had last spoken with him early Monday morning, the day that Khalaf Al Ali was killed. As for the content of their conversation, he revealed that his brother had told him that he was in good health and was making his final preparations to travel to Amman in April.
Khalaf Al Ali’s son, Nasser Al Ali tearfully told Asharq Al-Awsat that his father has sacrificed everything for his country, adding that his father had lived abroad, away from his family, out of his sense of national duty and service.
Nasser Al Ali, aged 23, stressed that he is aware that the Saudi leadership is committed to the safety and protection of all its citizens, and will do everything in its power to bring his father’s killers to justice.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement confirming that Khalaf Al Ali was shot and killed by an unknown assailant in the early hours of Tuesday morning whilst walking near his home in Dhaka.
The statement revealed that “Bangladeshi authorities have started investigations at the highest level to uncover the circumstances and motives behind this murder” adding that “the Saudi government demands quick results from the Bangladeshi government, and further requests adequate protection for all staff working at its embassy in Dhaka.”