x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gunmen kill Saudi diplomat in Karachi

Second attack on Saudi mission in Pakistan since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2 increased tension in region.

KARACH // Gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed a Saudi diplomat in the Pakistani city of Karachi yesterday, police and the Saudi ambassador said.

It was the second attack on the Saudi mission in Pakistan since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2 increased tension in the region.

Pakistan's Taliban claimed responsibility for the murder, and warned the United States against attacking its close ally al Qa'eda.

Al Qa'eda has waged a bloody campaign to topple the royal family and government of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of bin Laden. The group has also vowed to avenge his killing by US special forces.

Four people riding motorcycles opened fire on the Saudi diplomat's car, a Karachi police official said. The diplomat, a low-ranking security official, was 60 metres away from the consulate when the assailants struck.

The Saudi ambassador, Abdul Aziz al Ghadeer, said: "We condemn this attack. No one who carries out this kind of attack can be a Muslim." The Saudi state news agency named the diplomat as Hassan al Qahtani and described his killing as a criminal attack. The shooting came days after unidentified attackers threw two hand grenades at the consulate. which is located in Pakistan's commercial centre. No one was hurt in that attack.

Before claiming responsibility for the shooting, Pakistan's Taliban had described Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as American "slaves" and hailed the attack as a "very good job".