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Guard stabbed at French Consulate in Saudi Arabia

Guard stabbed at French Consulate in Saudi Arabia
© Getty Images

A Saudi man was arrested in connection with the stabbing of a guard at the French Consulate in the city of Jeddah Thursday amid a growing controversy over images of the Prophet Muhammad in France.

The French Embassy in Saudi Arabia did not name a motive in its statement but said the guard’s injuries are not life-threatening. 

“The assailant was apprehended by Saudi law enforcement immediately after the attack. The guard has been transferred to the hospital and his life is not in danger. The French Embassy strongly condemns this unjustified attack against a diplomatic mission,” the embassy said in a statement. 

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The embassy added that it has “confidence” in Saudi authorities to investigate the attack but urged French citizens in the country to employ “maximum vigilance.”

The stabbing at the Jeddah consulate comes the same day as three people were killed during a knife attack at the Notre Dame Church in Nice. Local authorities said terrorism is suspected in the attack. 

“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured,” Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said, referring to the attacker. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.” 

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It was not immediately clear if the two attacks were connected.

“We reiterate the Kingdom's categorical rejection of such extremist acts that are inconsistent with all religions, human beliefs and common sense,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement regarding the attack in Nice. “We offer condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, the government and the friendly French people, and we wish the injured a speedy recovery.” 

Earlier this month, a French schoolteacher was beheaded by a Chechen man after showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as part of a lesson on freedom of expression. Depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and are considered offensive. 

In the wake of the killing, French officials have reasserted people’s right to display the cartoons as an expression of free speech, sparking criticism of Paris from across the Muslim world, including a call for a boycott on French goods by Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

On Tuesday, Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinScarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Russian vessel threatens to ram US warship in disputed waters in Sea of Japan MORE, said French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTrump addresses virtual G-20 summit, heads out before session on pandemic G-20 leaders stress importance of united response to coronavirus pandemic Czech president says Trump should quit after election loss and 'not be embarrassing' MORE is "forcing people into terrorism" with his defense of the images.