RIYADH, (AFP) – Two gunmen shot and killed a policeman patrolling in the Islamic holy city of Mecca overnight, witnesses said.
The incident took place in an area of the city, in western Saudi Arabia, where more than 1.5 million Muslim faithful were gathered to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
The two assailants opened fire on a police patrol which had flagged down their car for a routine check. One of the two officers in an all-terrain vehicle was shot in the head, the witnesses said.
The victim was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. The other officer was unscathed but the attackers fled, they added.
A police search for the killers was underway in the Um Al-Jud quarter.
An interior ministry spokesman confirmed the incident but gave no details.
"A policeman was the target of an attack yesterday evening in Mecca while he was carrying out his duty in the service of the faithful going into the holy city," Mansur al-Turki told AFP Sunday.
Saudi Arabia launched a campaign against Al-Qaeda activists in 2003 after a wave of attacks against Western and government targets.