International

Former colleague shoots US contractors in Riyadh

RIYADH: The gunman who shot and killed an American and wounded another in Riyadh was a disgruntled former employee of defense contractor Vinnell Arabia and a US-Saudi citizen, a US diplomat said.

The victims of Tuesday’s shooting at a gas station in the Saudi capital also worked at Vinnell Arabia, said the diplomat, ruling out terrorism as a possible motive for the attack.

Earlier, the State Department had confirmed that there had been a shooting at a petrol station near from the company’s Riyadh base, adding that the US embassy was reviewing overall security.

“One employee was killed, and the other is lightly injured,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki in a statement.

“Local police responded and the suspect is currently in police custody,” she added, saying “we are in close contact with the Saudi government as we continue to gather details.”

“We are in the process of evaluating our security posture and will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of all US mission personnel.”

Psaki said Vinnell Arabia is a US contractor “supporting Saudi National Guard military programs in Riyadh.”

The attack happened about half-a-mile from the company’s base in Riyadh, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the US embassy.

Tuesday’s shooting was the first deadly attack on Westerners in Saudi Arabia since several were killed in a wave of Al-Qaeda violence between 2003 and 2006.

It comes as Saudi Arabia participates in a US-led campaign of air strikes against jihadists of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

But there was no immediate indication of any link between the attack and the more than three-week campaign. -AFP

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