Saudi man arrested in Jeddah after knife attack on guard at French consulate

29 October 2020 - 14:13 By Reuters
Security forces guard the area after a reported knife attack at Notre Dame church in Nice, France, October 29, 2020.
Security forces guard the area after a reported knife attack at Notre Dame church in Nice, France, October 29, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A Saudi man was arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after attacking and wounding a security guard with a "sharp tool" at the French consulate on Thursday, local police said.

A statement from the Mecca region's police said the guard suffered "minor injuries" and that "legal action" was being taken against the perpetrator.

The French Embassy said the consulate was subject to an "attack by knife which targeted a guard", adding the guard was taken to hospital and his life was not in danger.

"The French Embassy strongly condemns this attack against a diplomatic outpost which nothing could justify," it said in a statement.

The attack occurred after a knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu Akbar" beheaded a woman and killed two other people in the French city of Nice earlier in the day. Nice's mayor described the attack as terrorism.

France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of a school teacher by a man of Chechen origin. The attacker had said he wanted to punish the teacher for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson.

Since Samuel Paty's killing, French officials have reasserted the right to display the cartoons as a matter of free expression, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the teacher.

That has stirred anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned cartoons offending the Prophet Mohammad, but held back from echoing calls by other Muslim states for action against images of the Prophet being shown in France.

France raises security threat level to highest, PM says

France has raised the security alert for French territory to the highest level after the knife attack in the city of Nice, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

Castex also told French National Assembly that the government's response to the attack would be firm and implacable. 

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