Saudi police launched a manhunt on Wednesday after a bomb blast targeted foreign diplomats attending a war memorial ceremony in Jeddah.
At least two people were injured when the device exploded at Khawajat cemetery during a speech by the French consul at the event commemorating the annual Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War.
“At the end of the speech we heard an explosion. We didn’t quite understand it at first, but we then realised that we were the target,” witness Nadia Chaaya told French television. “We were panicking and feared there could be a second explosion.”
A Saudi police officer and a Greek policeman who lives in the Kingdom suffered minor injuries from the blast. Saudi security forces immediately cordoned off the scene and blocked roads leading to the cemetery just south of the city center as an investigation began.
Makkah region authorities described the attack as “cowardly” and “unsuccessful,” and said that an employee of the Greek consulate and a Saudi security officer were injured during a Remembrance Day ceremony held by the French consulate in Jeddah.
A Saudi government source told Arab News the incident is being investigated and a report will be issued very soon.
The cemetery where the explosion took place is located in the south of the city near the downtown area of Jeddah. Supervision of the cemetery rotates annually between Western consulates
The French embassy in Riyadh urged its nationals in Saudi Arabia to exercise “extreme vigilance” since a security guard at its Jeddah consulate was stabbed on Oct. 29, the same day a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in Nice in southern France.