JEDDAH: An armed man drove on Saturday up to a gate of the king’s palace here and opened fire, killing at least two security guards and wounding three others before being shot dead, officials said on Sunday.

According to Al-Jazeera English, the attacker, identified by the interior ministry as Mansour al-Amri, a 28-year-old Saudi national, was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and three Molotov cocktails. He disembarked from his vehicle at a checkpoint outside the western gate to the Al-Salam Palace and started shooting, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Royal guards shot him dead on the spot.

The palace, where the royal family conducts official business during the summer months, is located next to the King Abdulaziz and Andalus roads on the waterfront of the coastal city.

Saudi King Salman is currently outside the kingdom on a state visit to Russia.

Amri did not have a criminal record or any known connection to armed groups, said Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki, speaking by phone to Al-Arabiya television.

An investigation was under way to determine his motive for the attack, added Turki.

Meanwhile, the United States Embassy in Saudi Arabia warned American citizens to exercise caution in the area around the palace after reports on social media of an attack there.

“Due to the possibility of ongoing police activity, American citizens are advised to exercise caution when travelling through the area,” the embassy warned.

Groups such as Al Qaeda and more recently the militant Islamic State (IS) group have carried out a number of attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2017