A bomb on Wednesday hit a World War I memorial attended by European diplomats in the Saudi city of Jeddah, France. Several people were injured in Muslim anger over French cartoons.
The attack on a non-Muslim cemetery is the second attack in the kingdom in less than a month as French President Emmanuel Macron sought to allay anger against Muslim nations over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
“The annual end-of-World War I ceremony at the non-Muslim cemetery in Jeddah, attended by several consulates, including that of France, was the target of an IED [improvised explosive device] Attack this morning that injured several people, “said the French Foreign Ministry.
“France strongly condemns this cowardly, unjustifiable attack.”
There was no immediate response from the Saudi authorities.
According to a local AFP photographer, the roads leading to the cemetery in central Jeddah have been blocked by Saudi traffic police.
Last month, a Saudi citizen wounded a guard at the French consulate in Jeddah with a knife on the same day a man with knives killed three people in a church in Nice, southern France.
The French embassy in Riyadh has urged its nationals in Saudi Arabia to exercise “extreme vigilance”.
Wednesday’s explosion came as Macron, the target of much of the Muslim world to crack down on Islamist radicalism after a spate of attacks, attended a World War I commemoration in Paris.
Several countries are celebrating the 102nd anniversary of the armistice that Germany and the allied countries signed to end the war.
Macron has vigorously defended the right to publish cartoons deemed objectionable by some, including cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad printed by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The same cartoons were shown to students in a free expression class by French history teacher Samuel Paty, which resulted in his beheading outside Paris on October 16 after an online campaign by parents angry about his choice of teaching material.
Macron’s stance angered many Muslims and led to protests in several countries where portraits of the French President were burned and a campaign to boycott French products.
Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia – home of Islam’s holiest sites – criticized the cartoons, saying it had “rejected any attempt to link Islam and terrorism” but has stopped condemning the French leadership.
Riyadh also “sharply” condemned last month’s attack in Nice.
On Tuesday, Macron hosted a summit of European heads of state and government to develop a common approach to combating Islamist radicalism after four people were killed in a rampage in the heart of Vienna last week.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)