US security contractor shot dead in Saudi Arabian capital

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An American defence contractor was shot dead and another injured in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, the State Department said.

The two US citizens were employees of Vinnell Arabia, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, the Virginia-based defence and security giant.

They were shot at a gas station and store about half-a-mile from the Vinnell Arabia base, where contractors working with the Saudi Arabian national guard military programs operate, according to Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman. The base is about 20 miles from the US embassy.

Police later shot and wounded a suspect and then arrested him, according to a statement carried by SPA, the state media agency. “The attack resulted in the killing of one person and the wounding of another and it turned out they were of American citizenship,” it said.

The suspected gunman was identified as Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, a Saudi-American dual national recently fired from Vinnell, The Associated Press reported.

Alrashid, 24, was recently dismissed from his job for drug-related issues, according to a statement released in Washington on behalf of the Saudi Embassy, citing the Saudi Interior Ministry for the information.

A person with knowledge of the shooting was reported to have said that the shooter believed that the former colleague he shot dead had turned him in to their bosses for the alleged drug use.

Randy Belote, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of strategic communications, said in a statement later on Tuesday: “As a long-term partner in Saudi Arabia, we offer our deepest sympathies to the family members of both Vinnell Arabia employees involved in the incident.

“We continue to support the Vinnell leadership as they work with Saudi authorities and the State Department on this matter”.

The State Department said the US embassy in Riyadh would issue a message advising American citizens on the security situation and any precautions they should take.

Vinnell Arabia operates under a longstanding contract from the US army to provide training services to the Saudi national guard.

Nine Vinnell employees, seven of them American, were among 36 people killed in May 2003 when three residential compounds in Riyadh were attacked with car bombs.

At the time the company employed about 300 US citizens in Riyadh out of a total of 800 staff.

In 2010, Northrop Grumman announced that Vinnell had won a contract worth up to $550m to “continue the modernisation and training” of the Saudi national guard. Vinnell contractors would “provide US army-based doctrine and military training as well as logistics and support services” around the kingdom, it said in a statement.

Source: The Guardian

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