ISIS claims attack against foreign diplomats in Saudi Arabia

Islamic State says it targeted French diplomats attending ceremony at cemetery in Jiddah because of Mohammed caricatures.

Elad Benari ,

ISIS
ISIS
Reuters

The Islamic State (ISIS) group on Thursday claimed responsibility for an explosion the previous day at a cemetery in Saudi Arabia, saying it primarily targeted French diplomats attending the ceremony in remembrance of the end of World War I, The Associated Press reported.

Other Europeans and Americans were attending the ceremony at the Non-Muslims Cemetery in the kingdom’s coastal city of Jiddah. The blast wounded three people, leaving them with light to minor injuries.

ISIS said in a posting on its news agency, Aamaq, that it primarily targeted the French consul attending the ceremony because of his country's publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The claim was also carried on one of the militant Telegram channels used by ISIS, which said its fighters were able to plant the explosive device at the ceremony. The group offered no proof for its claim.

French President Emmanuel Macron has come under fire for his defense of the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on the grounds of freedom of speech.

Macron's remarks came after the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty near Paris by a suspected jihadist, after Paty had shown his students cartoons of the prophet Mohammed during a lesson on freedom of expression.

That followed the re-publication of the controversial cartoons in September by the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which itself was targeted by Islamist terrorists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led the charge against France, questioning Macron’s mental state. In response, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations, a first in French-Turkish diplomatic relations.

While ISIS has never had a major presence in Saudi Arabia, the last major attack its terrorists carried out in the kingdom was in 2015.

On Thursday night, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to "strike with an iron fist against anyone who would like to undermine our security and stability."



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