On Thursday, November 12, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for an attack that targeted a ceremony commemorating the end of the First World War (WW1) at the non-Muslim Cemetery in the Al-Balad area of Jeddah (Mecca province) on Wednesday, November 11. Representatives from a number of European consulates, including France, were among those who attended the ceremony and are believed to have been the target. At least four people were injured in the attack after an improvised explosive device (IED) placed in the cemetery detonated. IS issued a statement claiming responsibility; however, is yet to provide credible evidence of its involvement in the attack.
Security forces have launched an investigation into the incident and as these continue, a heightened security presence and localized disruptions should be expected in the area.
The attack comes following the issuing of a warning on October 29 by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs warning of an increased terrorism threat against French nationals, and the stabbing of a security guard at the French consulate in Jeddah on the same day.
On October 16, teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in an attack by an alleged Islamist extremist in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a civics class. The attack prompted the arrest of a number of people linked to the attacker and comments from President Macron about religious rights and freedom of expression in French society. However, the government's response was seen by some communities as Islamophobic and has prompted a number of protests and calls for boycotts of French goods in some Muslim-majority countries.
Those in Jeddah are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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