Saudi Arabia says foreigners can carry guns
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will allow foreigners who feel threatened by the wave of militant violence in the kingdom to carry guns for their protection, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz said.
“In principle a Saudi has the right to carry a weapon, if he has a permit. Likewise a foreign resident, if he felt in danger he could get a permit to carry a weapon,” Nayef was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency on Thursday.
“I mean a personal weapon which a person can have in his own country,” the prince said.
Al Qaeda supporters have waged a year-long campaign of violence targeting Westerners, government sites and oil workers in the kingdom, prompting some foreigners to flee the country which is the world’s biggest oil exporter.
In one of the bloodiest attacks, militants masquerading as security men killed 22 civilians in a May shooting and hostage-taking spree in the oil city of Khobar.
On Friday, security forces shot dead Al Qaeda’s leader in Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, hours after the beheading of US hostage Paul Johnson.
But militants promised to continue their jihad (holy struggle) to drive foreigners from the birthplace of Islam and topple its royal rulers.
Saudi Arabia announced a limited one-month amnesty on Wednesday for the militants. Saudi sources said it was aimed at mid-ranking and junior Al Qaeda supporters, not leaders with blood on their hands. reuters