Authorities in Saudi Arabia have dislcosed that they have commenced investigation into the shooting incident outside the United States consulate in Jeddah, which left two people dead.
According to a statement issued by Saudi Authorities on Thursday, a gunman and a Nepalese security guard were both killed after an exchange of gunfire outside the consulate on Wednesday evening, giving no possible motive for the incident.
“At 6:45 pm (1545 GMT), a man stopped in a car in front of the consulate building and got out with a weapon in his hand.
“Security forces reacted… resulting in an exchange of fire that killed the assailant,” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted a police spokesman as saying.
It added that the Nepalese guard later died of his wounds.
The shooting coincided with the final day of the Hajj at nearby Mecca, with more than 1.6 million foreign pilgrims arriving on planes and boats streaming through the coastal city of Jeddah en route to the Holy city.
“Security investigations are still underway to ascertain the circumstances of the incident,” the police spokesman said.
The gunman’s nationality has not been revealed, but the United States State Department in a statement said no Americans were hurt, adding that the consulate had been secured.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased local guards member.
“The consulate was appropriately locked down and no Americans were harmed in the attack.
“The United States was in touch with the kingdom as it starts its investigation,” the statement added.
The US consulate in the Red Sea City has been the target of previous attacks, including the one of July 4, 2016, American Independence Day, where a suicide bomber blew himself up.
In December 2004, the consulate was stormed by suspected Islamist extremists in an attack that left five non-American staff and contractors dead, as well as four gunmen.
That attack, claimed by Al-Qaeda’s Saudi branch, was the first on a diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia.
In recent times, Jeddah has been a hub of diplomatic activity as the United States and Saudi Arabia try to mediate between warring generals in Sudan.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the city earlier this month when he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.