Saudi man arrested for attacking guard at French consulate in Jeddah

Guard received only minor injuries for which he was treated in hospital

A picture taken from a distance shows the French consulate in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah on October 29, 2020. A Saudi citizen wounded a guard in a knife attack at the French consulate in Jeddah today, 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.
 / AFP / Mohammed Ahmed
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A Saudi man was arrested on Thursday after attacking a guard at the French consulate in Jeddah with a “sharp object”, the state news agency reported.

“The guard sustained minor injuries as a result of the attack,” the state news agency said.

Makkah Region’s police spokesman, Maj Muhammad Al Ghamdi, said the man in his forties was arrested for attacking the guard at the consulate.

The victim suffered minor injuries, he said, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, Maj Al Ghamdi said.

The suspect was arrested and legal measures will be taken, he said. The nationality of the guard was not disclosed.

The French embassy in the kingdom condemned the attack and reassured that the guard’s injuries were not “a cause for concern”.

The embassy expressed its full confidence in the Saudi authorities to “uncover the circumstances of the incident”.

It called on French citizens in the kingdom to “take the utmost caution”.

Security around the Jeddah consulate was stepped up, with Saudi police cars patrolling the complex at regular intervals.

The UAE condemned the attack, calling it an "act of sabotage".

"We express our rejection of all forms of violence that aim to destabilise security and stability, and are inconsistent with religious and humanitarian values ​​and principles," the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said.

Authorities have not disclosed the attacker's motive but it comes as anger has been growing around the world after French President Emmanuel Macron defended cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed that were deemed offensive to Islam.

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet this week rejected any link between Islam and terrorism, but said the cartoons were offensive to Muslims.

Ministers renewed the government’s “condemnation and rejection of every terrorist act or practices, and actions that generate hatred, violence, and extremism”, while affirming that intellectual freedom is a means of respect, tolerance and peace.

The incident in Jeddah comes as three people were killed and several others injured after a terrorist knife attack at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday.