Wednesday, June 09, 2004

If you were looking for my entry about the security meeting, sorry I had to take it down.

I don't really believe in censorship (although my local ISP here does! I can't get even to some blogs because the ISP obviously thought that the contents were questionable.) But anyways I have been advised to take the article down. Not for anything, the residents are all tense at the moment.

With another shooting yesterday, people are getting more and more restless. Some of the advice I had was really unnerving, left me quite depressed. But I would have to respect the wishes of my neighbours as they feel that the article would make the compound more vulnerable and perhaps more of a target.

Another American was shot last night. There hasn't been a let up which makes many people ask, when will this all end? Others have made arrangements to leave.

BC-Saudi-Shooting, 8th Ld-Writethru,0654
American working for U.S. defense contractor shot dead in Saudi
Eds: AMs.
AP Photo XAN109
Associated Press Writer

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — An American who worked for a U.S. defense contractor was shot and killed Tuesday in the Saudi capital, the second deadly shooting of a Westerner in the kingdom in three days.
An unknown assailant killed the man in his home, said a spokesman for the man's employer, Vinnell Corp., based in Fairfax, Va. "He was found by another employee at his apartment and taken to a hospital, but did not survive," said the spokesman, Jay McCaffrey.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the death of an American in Riyadh. The victim's name was not released because Vinnell has not been able to reach his next of kin, McCaffrey said. Seven Vinnell employees were among the 35 people, including nine suicide bombers, who died last year in an attack on a Riyadh
foreigners' housing compound. Vinnell, which has several dozen Americans in the kingdom training
Saudi security forces, maintains a secure residential compound for its employees, but the victim chose not to live there, McCaffrey said.

The official Saudi news agency said police were investigating the death. Saudi security officials declined immediate comment. "I am shocked," said Bandar Al-Ajmi, 29, a Saudi who lived round the
corner from the victim. "He was our neighbor, and neither God nor the Prophet (Muhammad) would accept that something like this would happen." An orange police bus blocked the street leading to the apartment in a villa in the Khaleej neighborhood of eastern Riyadh. Besides training security forces, Vinnell Corp., a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp., also provides other services ranging from construction to supply and transportation work. Last year, it was awarded a $48 million contract to train the new Iraqi army. Islamic militants have carried out a series of attacks on Westerners,
government targets and economic interests in the kingdom during the past 13 months. The government has blamed the attacks on people inspired by, or belonging to, the al-Qaida terror network led by
Saudi-born Osama bin Laden. Insurgents shot a British Broadcasting Corp. team Sunday while it was
filming a militant's family home in Riyadh. The cameraman, Simon Cumbers, 36, an Irish citizen, was killed and security correspondent Frank Gardner, 42, a Briton, was critically wounded. The attack occurred in a low-income neighborhood that has been the scene of numerous confrontations between government forces and militants. The scene of Tuesday's shooting was an upscale district of
schools, clinics and housing compounds where Westerners live. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday the attack on the BBC journalists demonstrated the threat terrorists pose around the world.
"We have to be vigilant and get out and get after them and make sure we deal with this issue," Blair said. The British Foreign Office has advised Britons against all nonessential travel to Saudi Arabia. The United States has gone further, urging all its citizens to leave the kingdom. Militant attacks have surged in the past two months, despite a high-profile campaign against terrorists the government began after last year's suicide bombings.

On May 29, militants stormed a resort in the eastern oil city of Khobar and took hostages. They killed 22 people, mostly foreigners. One attacker was captured. Saudi security forces are still looking for three others.

On May 22, a German chef was shot and killed outside a bank in Riyadh. The assailants remain at large.

On May 1, terrorists attacked the offices of an American energy company in the western city of Yanbu, killing six Westerners and a Saudi.
AP-WS-06-08-04 1458EDT

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