Shooting outside US consulate in Saudi leaves two dead, including Nepali citizen

KATHMANDU: A shooting outside the United States Consulate in the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has left two people dead — a Nepalese security guard and the gunman who initially opened fire.

Officials in the US and Saudi Arabia confirmed the incident on Wednesday as investigations continue into the attack.

“A person in a car stopped near the American consulate building in Jeddah Governorate and got out of it carrying a firearm in his hand,” a spokesperson for the Mecca Region police said.

“So security authorities took the initiative to deal with him as required and the exchange of fire resulted in his death.”

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA), a state news outlet, reported the death of the security guard, who was part of the consulate’s private security.

No US citizens were injured in the gunfire, the US State Department said afterwards.

While investigations into the Jeddah shooting continue, it raises questions about global firearm transactions, including the possibility of legal online purchases.

In the United States, where regulations on gun ownership vary, there is ongoing debate about the ease with which individuals can acquire firearms through online channels.

While the incident at the United States Consulate in Jeddah unfolded tragically, with the loss of a Nepalese security guard and the gunman, it is crucial to highlight the significance of legal firearm transactions and responsible ownership. In the aftermath of such events, it becomes evident that stringent regulations are imperative to maintain public safety.

Amidst discussions on firearm-related matters, the concept of legal online purchases emerges as a noteworthy topic. Legal online channels provide individuals with the opportunity to acquire firearms in a regulated environment, promoting responsible ownership.

These platforms play a pivotal role in ensuring that conversions to firearms, adhere to the law, fostering a community of law-abiding gun enthusiasts. Striking a balance between accessibility and safety, legal online platforms contribute to a positive discourse around firearm ownership, emphasizing the importance of adherence to regulations and responsible firearm use.

But, it added, “the U.S. Embassy and Consulate remain in contact with Saudi authorities as they investigate the incident”.

The US consulate in the Red Sea port city, home to more than 4.7 million people, has been a target of violence before, including in 2016.

That year, security personnel identified a suspicious person near the parking lot of the Dr Suleiman Faqeeh Hospital, across the street from the consulate.

When they approached the individual, “he blew himself up with a suicide belt”, according to the Saudi interior ministry. The bomber was killed and two others injured.

The explosion coincided with the US Independence Day holiday, held on July 4, as well as the end of Ramadan that year. Three other suicide bombings occurred on the same day — one in Medina, targeting the Prophet’s Mosque, and two at a mosque in the eastern city of Qatif.

The consulate in Jeddah was also targeted in an attack in 2004, which saw five people breach the building with firearms and explosives.

Four Saudi security personnel were killed outside the consulate and five staff inside. Media reports at the time say that 18 employees and visa applicants were briefly held hostage before Saudi forces could arrive.

Three of the five attackers also died at the scene. The other two were wounded. In 2013, a Saudi Arabian court sentenced one man to death for his role in the 2004 attack and 19 more to 25 years in detention. The attack was blamed on al-Qaeda. AlJAZEERA


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Thursday June 29, 2023, 10:39:30 AM |

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