British defense worker killed in Saudi Arabia

Fatal shooting in Riyadh is latest of attacks on Westerners in Arab world

February 21, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

CAIRO, Egypt - A British defense worker was shot and killed yesterday in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, in the latest of a series of attacks on Westerners in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.

The man, an employee of the British defense firm BAE Systems, died after a gunman opened fire at 4:45 p.m. as the victim waited in his car at a traffic light in the capital's Grenada neighborhood.

The police chased and quickly arrested a man, identified as Saud bin Ali bin Nasser, according to the official Saudi Press Agency, which cited Ministry of Interior officials. Nasser, 30, works as a salesman for the Toyota Motor Corp. in Riyadh, the officials said; he was described as a naturalized citizen originally from Yemen.

The shooting came a day after Britain issued new warnings about traveling to the Middle East. The attack was the latest of several in Saudi Arabia.

On Feb. 7, a British engineer from the company narrowly escaped an attack in Riyadh. In that incident, gunmen opened fire from another car as he was driving near his home - an attack that bore striking similarities to yesterday's. Last June, another employee, an Australian, escaped injury after a sniper opened fire in Tabuk, in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Also in June, a British banker was killed by a bomb in his car in Riyadh. In Jordan, a senior U.S. diplomat, Laurence Foley, was shot to death in his driveway in October. A month later, an American evangelist, Bonnie Penner Witherall, was killed at a missionary clinic in Sidon, Lebanon. In December, three American missionaries were shot to death and another wounded at a hospital in Yemen.

In Kuwait, an American civilian contractor was killed and another wounded last month by a gunman as their vehicle approached Camp Doha, the main U.S. military base there, about 10 miles from the capital.

In November, two soldiers were wounded when a Kuwait policeman fired after stopping them, while in October a U.S. Marine was shot and killed during an exercise on Failaka Island, off Kuwait's coast.

The official Saudi news reports did not suggest a motive for yesterday's shooting, and an official at the Ministry of Interior declined to comment.

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