Shooting Survivors Return To France

The three widows of the Frenchmen killed by unidentified gunmen on Monday, as well as two children of one of the women, returned to France yesterday, said Alain Guepratte, a spokesman of the French Embassy.

The spokesman did not provide any details on the investigation into the killings where unidentified gunmen opened fire with Kalashnikovs on a group of nine who were taking a roadside break on the Tabuk-Madinah highway.

The French Embassy has reiterated its standing travel recommendations for its nationals in Saudi Arabia, namely “of prudence, of discretion, of strict respect for the dress code, and of limiting their movements.” There are approximately 3,600 French nationals residing in the Kingdom, and the embassy is urging them to avoid unnecessary travel.

The French Embassy also issued a statement saying it isn’t clear if the attackers discovered the nationality of their victims before gunning them down in cold blood as they were enjoying the scenery. Reports say the group may have visited the archaeological site of Madain Saleh, which the Saudi government considers a tourism asset.

Some reports claim the attackers, who are still at large, asked their victims their nationality before gunning down three men, including Jean-Marc Bonnet and his 17-year-old son Mubarak, both French-Moroccan Muslims. Funeral prayers were held for the two at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Tuesday.

Two of the men killed in the attack, including Bonnet, were reportedly engineers at Schneider Electric. The third man, whose identity has not been released, was reportedly a teacher at a French school in Riyadh.

Investigators Dispatched

to Umlaj: Report

Police in Madinah have dispatched an investigation unit to the coastal city of Umlaj, about 110 km north of Yanbu, Al-Madinah reported yesterday. The report says the unit is trying to track down the killers and have been conducting an intensive search of the region this past week.

The report said authorities believe the killers are hiding somewhere in this region, home to many small villages and rugged terrain. Authorities have set up checkpoints on roads throughout the area.

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