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Saudi Arabia Attack Update

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It turns out (although it wasn’t reported widely) that the three French tourists murdered today in Saudi Arabia were probably killed for a reason that made perfect sense to the shooters: they had gone where infidels are not allowed to go, and transgressed against the religious apartheid law of Saudi Arabia.

Here’s a rare photo of a road sign on the highway to Mecca (Makkah):

And if you ignore that sign, you don’t just get a ticket and pay a fine: 3 French travelers slain in Saudi desert. (Hat tip: Elric66.)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Three French travelers were killed by gunmen Monday in the Saudi Arabian desert when they stopped their car to rest on the side of a road leading to the holy city of Medina in an area restricted to Muslims only. …

The travelers were resting on the side of a road about 10 miles north of Medina when gunmen fired at their car, instantly killing two of the men. The third man died later after he was taken to a hospital, and the fourth Frenchman was in serious condition at an area hospital, al-Turki said.

Our friends the Saudis.

And get a load of this absurdly reverential introduction to Islam, added by the Associated Press apparently to help us understand why these people were slaughtered by the side of the road.

The area the group was traveling in is restricted for Muslims only. Non-Muslims are barred from the area around Medina and neighboring Mecca, the holiest cities in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca, where he began spreading the message of Islam, until he fled to Medina. From Medina, he spread Islam until he died and was buried in the city. Muslims perform the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and usually visit Medina as well.

UPDATE at 2/26/07 1:52:52 pm:

More details and a correction in the latest al-Reuters report; they weren’t tourists, and apparently there were some Muslims among the infidels in the group.

RIYADH (Reuters) - Three French expatriate workers were shot dead during a trip to the Saudi desert on Monday in what appeared to be the first militant attack on foreigners in three years, the government said.

An Interior Ministry statement said a group of nine French nationals were fired on after a car stopped them near Medina in the west of the vast desert country. “They are all residents who work in Riyadh and who had gone on a desert trip,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told Saudi television, adding the attackers escaped. …

The spokesman said the group, thought to number 26, had split into two after a night in the desert near Medina, with some returning to Riyadh and the nine French nationals staying behind because some of them were Muslims who hoped to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

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