Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Yesterday’s attack near to the ancient ruins of Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia that left three French nationals killed conjured up a series of attacks on Westerners in the country since 1995, which reached its pinnacle in June 2004 when a number of Westerners were killed in one week.
In 1995, the launch of attacks on Westerners in Saudi Arabia began as five Americans and two Indians were killed in November of that year by a car bomb explosion outside a US training facility in Riyadh. Sixty people were hurt by the explosion.
On 25 June, 1996, a fuel truck exploded near a military complex that housed Americans in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Khobar, killing 19 American servicemen and wounding 400 people.
The situation in Saudi Arabia was composed until November 17, 2000, when Christopher Rodway, a Briton who worked at the military hospital in Riyadh, was killed and his wife was injured by a car bomb.
On November 22, 2000, three Britons (two men and a woman), working for a Saudi company and an Irish woman were injured in a car bomb blast in Riyadh.
On December 15, 2000, David Brown, a Briton who worked for a soft drinks company, sustained severe burns from a bomb that was hidden in a small bag in his car in the city of Khobar.
On March 15, 2001, a Briton and an Egyptian were slightly injured when a bomb hidden in a box exploded outside a bookshop in Riyadh. On May 2, 2001, an American doctor, Gary Hatch, was seriously wounded when a parcel bomb blew up in his face. On October 6, 2001, two foreigners, including one American, were killed and four others were wounded in Khobar.
On June 20, 2002, British Simon John Veness was killed by a car bomb blast. On September 29, 2002, a German man was killed when his car exploded with him inside.
On February 20, 2003, a Briton working for a defense systems company in Riyadh was killed. This was followed on May 1, 2003 when an American civilian who worked at a naval base in eastern Saudi Arabia was wounded by a militant, while on May 12 of the same year, tens of Westerners were killed and hundreds of others were wounded when four bombings targeted Western housing compounds.
On May 1, 2004, two Americans, two Britons, an Australian and a Saudi security guard were killed in the western Saudi Arabian port city of Yanbu in the attack on Swiss-Swedish ABB engineering company. Another twenty people from various nationalities were wounded in the attack.
Mid-2004 saw Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia claim responsibility for the assassination of an American and the abduction of another on the same day as a militant group shot dead American Kenneth Scroggs as he left his house in June. Later that month, Paul Marshall, also American, was kidnapped then killed by militants.
The assassination of Scroggs was the third attack on Westerners in one week. An Irish cameraman working for the BBC [Simon Cumbers] was killed and his British colleague correspondent [Frank Gardner] was severely wounded as they filmed outside the house of a wanted Saudi who had been killed in an earlier clash with a Saudi law enforcement agency.
On May 22, 2004, Herman Bengler, a German, was shot dead in his car outside one of Riyadh’s most famous bookshops.
On September 26, 2004, Frenchman Laurent Barbot, 40, was gunned down on his way home in Jeddah’s al Shati neighborhood. Barbot, an electronics engineer, worked at the ship repair facility with the Saudi Navy’s contractor Thomson.