France says blast in Saudi city Jeddah wounds several, condemns 'cowardly attack'

The explosion was the second security incident to take place in Jeddah in the last couple of weeks. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS/RIYADH (REUTERS) - A bomb attack on a World War I remembrance ceremony in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah wounded several people on Wednesday (Nov 11), France said, urging its citizens living in the conservative kingdom to exercise maximum vigilance.

France's Foreign Ministry said the attack had taken place at a ceremony involving foreign embassies in the Red Sea port city, and that an explosive device had been used. A Greek official said four people had been wounded.

"There was some sort of a blast at the non-Muslim cemetery in Jeddah. There are four slightly injured, among them one Greek," the Greek official said, declining to named.

"The embassies that were involved in the commemoration ceremony condemn this cowardly attack, which is completely unjustified," a French Foreign Ministry statement said.

"They call on the Saudi authorities to shed as much light as they can on this attack, and to identify and hunt down the perpetrators."

The French consulate in Jeddah, in a statement, urged its nationals in Saudi Arabia to exercise "maximum vigilance" following the attack.

"In particular, exercise discretion, stay away from all gatherings and be cautious when moving around," said the statement, which was e-mailed to French residents in Jeddah. The statement said only two people had been injured.

A source with knowledge of the matter said the attack happened early on Wednesday when several diplomatic delegations from the European Union and other countries were present at a Remembrance Day event organised by the French Embassy.

The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The explosion was the second security incident to take place in Jeddah in the last couple of weeks.

On Oct 29, a Saudi man was arrested after attacking and wounding a security guard at the French consulate there.

It followed the beheading earlier in October near Paris of a French school teacher by a man of Chechen origin who had said he wanted to punish the teacher for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics lesson.

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