Several wounded in attack on French Consulate ceremony at cemetery in Saudi Arabia

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At least two people were wounded on Wednesday in an attack on a non-Muslim cemetery during a ceremony organized by the French Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to commemorate the end of World War I. 

According to The New York Times, Nathalie Goulet, a French senator and a member of a parliamentary group between France and Gulf countries, said an explosive device had apparently been thrown at the cemetery. 

Goulet added that the two people wounded in the explosion suffered minor injuries. 

The Associated Press reported that several countries had representatives at the ceremony Wednesday, the 102nd anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. The day is commemorated each year in several European countries. 

French officials, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity due to regulations limiting them from speaking publicly, condemned the attack, adding that no group has yet claimed responsibility. 

Saudi officials have not yet commented on the incident, according to the AP. 

Wednesday’s attack comes after the Oct. 29 stabbing of a guard at the French Consulate in Jeddah. The attack was believed to be carried out by a Saudi man, although there was no clear motive. 

The stabbing occurred the same day three people were killed in a knife attack at the Notre Dame Church in Nice, France. Police arrested the suspected attacker, whom the AP later named as Ibrahim Issaoui, after the officers wounded him in a confrontation. 

Authorities have since brought multiple people into custody in connection with the Nice attack. 

Issaoui, who was born in Tunisia, reportedly had a copy of the Quran and a bag with two unused knives. Another bag with his belongings also had two knives.

The AP reported that Issaoui received a notice that he was being expelled from Italy for illegal entry and was given seven days to leave. This was later confirmed by Italy’s interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese. 

The knife attack came in the aftermath of the Oct. 16 beheading of a French middle school teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad for a lesson on free speech. 

The caricatures were published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and cited by the men who gunned down the newspaper’s editorial meeting in 2015, leaving 12 dead. 

French President Emmanuel Macron has supported the caricatures as a form of free speech in the country, drawing condemnation from some Muslims who view the depictions as forms of incitement and hate speech.

Tags Charlie Hebdo Emmanuel Macron France Hate speech Islamist extremism New York Times Nice Quran Remembrance Day Saudi Arabia terrorist attacks The Associated Press Tunisia
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