Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – A Saudi man believed to be in his thirties, driving in 2001 Nissan Maxima, opened fire on guards at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. The incident led to a car chase and shoot out with security forces near the consulate.
According to a statement from the Saudi Ministry of Interior, ” at 5:30pm local time today, a car driving by the consulate fired on security guards. Saudi security forces chased the car and a gunfight ensued, in which the car was damaged. An armed individual exited the vehicle and was subsequently apprehended by authorities. The suspect sustained moderate injuries.”
Sources close to the investigation told Asharq Al-Awsat that the armed man appeared confused and unstable during questioning, and was arrested in the past for numerous offences. Security Sources also revealed that investigators are looking into the man’s past, in an effort to identify his motives, or any ties he might have with any terrorist cells.
In December 2004, al Qaeda militants stormed the U.S. consulate compound in the Red Sea port city, killing five non-American consular staff. Four of the five attackers died in the attack and a fifth was wounded and arrested.
Last month, Saudi Arabia said it had arrested five militants linked to a failed al Qaeda attack on a major oil facility in February, and seized 1.5 tonnes of explosives.
Officials say about 150 foreigners and Saudis, including security forces, and 120 militants have died in attacks and clashes with police in the past three years.