Islamic militants threw explosives at the gate of the heavily guarded US consulate in Jiddah in a bold assault, then forced their way into the building, prompting a gunbattle that left at least seven people dead and several injured before the three-hour long crisis was brought under control. \nThree attackers were among those killed, while two others were injured and arrested, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced. Saudi security officials also said four of their forces, who apparently stormed the compound after the initial attack, were killed. \nThe ministry statement did not mention hostages, but Saudi officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said some Indian and Sudanese employees of the consulate were taken hostage and later freed. \nIn Riyadh, US Embassy spokeswoman Carol Kalin said several local staff members had been killed, but all American staff were safe and none had been taken hostage. \nKalin said it was unclear if any of the US Marine guards inside the consulate were involved in the gunbattle. \n"We have accounted for all Americans in the compound in Jiddah and none of them are being held hostage," Kalin said. \nAs a precaution, she said, the US Embassy in Riyadh and consulate in Dhahran were closed to the public. \nSaudi security forces, including snipers, could be seen on the rooftops of buildings around the consulate compound. Thick smoke rose from the compound and helicopters hovered overhead. \nThe White House was monitoring the situation, spokesman Sean McCormack said. \nThe statement by a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, said a "deviant bunch" -- a reference to Islamic militants -- threw explosives at the gate of the consulate, then entered. Saudi security forces engaged the attackers, "killing three aggressors, and two were captured after they were hit," the statement said. \nA senior Saudi official in Washington, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the attackers took several hostages, mostly Sudanese and Indian, just inside a gate at the consulate where people come to get their visas. The Saudi official said the Indian and Sudanese nationals worked in that area. \nDuring the hostage standoff, the official said, there were some negotiations, but Saudi security forces stormed the attackers when threats were made. There was a brief firefight that ended with the three attackers being killed and two captured, the Saudi official said.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit