Multiple people injured in bomb blast during remembrance service attended by European diplomats at Saudi Arabian cemetery for non-Muslims
- Grenade inflicted ‘numerous casualties’ at WWI remembrance service in Jeddah
- Several European diplomats were attending service hosted by French delegation
- British officials and military attaches were unharmed the attack, MoD said
- Comes after French security guard stabbed outside Jeddah embassy 12 days ago
A grenade has exploded and caused ‘numerous casualties’ at a First World War remembrance ceremony in Saudi Arabia attended by British diplomats.
One Greek official was among four people injured at the service hosted by the French consulate at a non-Muslim cemetery in Jeddah.
An unidentified man was arrested after throwing the explosive at the group, local police said. They are investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed to MailOnline that there were no British casualties at the commemoration which was attended by several European diplomats and their military attaches.
The French foreign ministry meanwhile condemned the ‘cowardly, unjustifiable attack’ during which it said an improvised explosive device had been used.
It comes just 12 days after a guard was stabbed outside the French consulate in Jeddah. The same day, three people were killed in a Nice church in one of several recent Islamist terror attacks in France.
A wounded person appears to be on the ground as men in military dress signal to each other. One of the officers (left) appears to be wearing a British Army uniform
Men in military dress appear to be treating a wounded person lying on the ground at the cemetery in Jeddah, the Saudi capital
Blood spatters the ground close to wreathes laid for the Remembrance Day service
Police in Mecca province, where Jeddah is situated, said they feared terrorism was behind the blast.
‘It is being investigated as a terrorist attack against foreign dignitaries,’ said a police source. ‘Those present included British, French and Greek diplomats. There are numerous casualties.’
The French foreign ministry said: ‘The annual ceremony commemorating the end of World War I at the non-Muslim cemetery in Jeddah, attended by several consulates, including that of France, was the target of an IED attack this morning, which injured several people.
‘France strongly condemns this cowardly, unjustifiable attack.’
French senator Damien Regnard tweeted: ‘All my support to our compatriots in Saudi Arabia and in Jeddah.’
Photos emerging on social media purport to show a wounded person lying on the ground being treated by men in military dress, as well as blood spatters beside wreaths for the service.
MailOnline has contacted the Foreign Office for comment.
A Saudi attacker was arrested after stabbing and injuring a guard outside the the French consulate in Jeddah on October 29
France’s embassy in Riyadh said the guard was taken to hospital and his life is not in danger, but condemned the ‘attack on diplomatic premises which can never be justified’
George Malbrunot, a correspondent for French newspaper Le Figaro, tweeted that a ‘grenade was thrown’ into the congregation.
There has reportedly been a warning issued by the US Consulate in Jeddah.
‘The US Consulate-General in Jeddah is following an explosion that occured at the non-Muslim cemetery in central Jeddah.’ An image posted online of the email says.
‘American citizens are advised to avoid the nearby area and exercise caution in public places.’
Wednesday’s attack comes after a guard at the French embassy in Jeddah was stabbed on October 29.
France and its president Emmanuel Macron have been the focus of anger in the Islamic world in recent weeks
History and geography teacher Samuel Paty, 47, who was decapitated outside a school near Paris on October 16 after receiving death threats for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a lesson
On that day, a knifeman murdered three people in Nice and a gunman was shot dead in Avignon.
The attacks followed the beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty in the Parisian suburbs on October 16 after he showed a freedom of speech class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
President Emmanuel Macron’s staunch defence of Mr Paty and his awarding him a posthumous Legion d’Honneur provoked furious protests across the Islamic world.