Tue, May 17, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Gunmen ambush, kill Saudi envoy in Karachi

NEVER ENDING:While condemning the attack, the Saudi ambassador said he was confident that Pakistan would do everything it could to catch those responsible

Reuters, ISLAMABAD and KARACHI

A policeman is reflected in a window of a car shattered by bullets in which a Saudi diplomat was travelling when he came under attack by gunmen in Karachi yesterday. The diplomat was killed in the attack.

Photo: Reuters

Gunmen on motorcycles attacked a car belonging to the Saudi Arabian consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi yesterday, killing a Saudi diplomat, police and the Saudi ambassador said.

The Pakistani Taliban denied carrying out the assassination and authorities said they were investigating possible links to sectarian groups or the death of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US Navy SEALs on May 2.

Saudi Arabia said the victim, Hasan al-Khatani, was travelling to work when he was killed and demanded that Pakistan tighten security measures for its diplomats, following a grenade attack on the mission building last week. No one was hurt in that attack.

“We condemn this attack. No one who carries out this kind of attack can be a Muslim,” Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz al-Ghadeer said.

It’s too early to determine who was behind the attack, the ambassador said, but he suggested “terrorists,” a reference to Muslim militant groups such as al-Qaeda, carried it out.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies. Al-Qaeda is violently opposed to the Saudi government and has vowed revenge for the killing of bin Laden.

“We trust the Pakistani authorities and hope they will identify the terrorists and bring them to justice,” al-Ghadeer said.

“The authorities in Karachi are working very hard and we trust them. We are working together. We trust Pakistan will do its best to ensure the terrorists are caught and identified,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is the world -biggest oil exporter and any signs that it’s security is threatened could move global oil prices.

“There is no immediate impact of the shooting on the market and there is unlikely to be one unless the victim turns out to be someone important,” a Singapore-based Western crude trader said about the attack in Karachi.

Four people riding motorcycles opened fire on the Saudi diplomat’s car, a Karachi police official said.

“The Saudi national killed was himself driving the car and was probably going to the consulate from his house,” the official said.

Militants swearing allegiance to al-Qaeda attacked Western targets, government sites and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s most strategic allies, between 2003 and 2006.

The operations included suicide bombings at Western housing compounds, the Saudi interior ministry headquarters in the capital, Riyadh, and petrochemicals companies.

Pakistan’s commitment to fighting militancy was questioned after it was discovered that bin Laden was living in a garrison town close to the capital — by some accounts for five years — before his death.

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