Saudi Arabia sentences Yemeni to death for Riyadh concert stabbing

Terrorist attack on Spanish theatre group was the first since the kingdom announced a wave of entertainment events

In this Dec. 13, 2019 photo, people spend the evening at the Diriyah Oasis amusement park in Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Hollywood actors, models and social media mavens were invited to Saudi Arabia over the weekend to promote a three-day-long musical festival for young Saudis that took place in the capital, Riyadh. The efforts are aimed at boosting the economy while polishing the country's image abroad and appealing to the young. It's a pivot from just three years ago, when religious police would storm restaurants playing music and harass women in malls for showing their face or wearing red nail polish. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Saudi Arabia sentenced a Yemeni man to death for his knife attack on a Spanish theatre group in Riyadh last month, Saudi Arabia's state television said.

The court also sentenced an accomplice to 12 years and six months in jail for the November 11 attack that Riyadh linked to militant group Al Qaeda. Spain said four performers were wounded.

The 33-year-old attacker was directed by an Al Qaeda leader in Yemen to carry out the attack. The militant group has yet to claim the attack.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is considered to be the strongest arm of the militant group.

It was the first assault since Saudi Arabia announced a wave of entertainment events.

The Riyadh Season festival is part of a broad government push to open up the kingdom to tourists and diversify its economy away from oil.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pursued sweeping social reforms that mark the biggest cultural shake-up in the kingdom’s modern history, allowing mixed-gender concerts and the reopening of cinemas.

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government against Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels and has also been involved in the fight against Al Qaeda.

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