Taliban kill Saudi consulate staffer in Karachi

Motorcycle-borne Pak Taliban gunmen shot dead a Saudi consulate staffer.

Last Updated: May 16, 2011, 19:17 PM IST

Karachi: Motorcycle-borne Pakistan Taliban gunmen Monday shot dead a Saudi consulate staffer in Pakistan`s port city of Karachi while he was driving to office.
Hassan al-Qahtani, head of security in the consulate, was driving his car on the Khayaban-e-Shahbaz road when four gunmen on motorcycles fired at him. The gunmen fled after the incident, Xinhua quoted police as saying.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the killing, AKI reported citing Al-Arabiya TV channel. A spokesman said his outfit carried out the attack with four men riding motorcycles.

"The victim received one bullet in his head and died on the spot," a senior police officer said.

The consulate staffer was not escorted by bodyguards when he was gunned down.

The Saudi consulate has been closed for a week following the incident.

Saudi Arabia condemned the attack and described it as a "criminal attack", said state-run SPA news agency.

The Saudi foreign ministry is following up investigations with Pakistani security authorities and has demanded strengthening of security at the Saudi consulate in Karachi and the embassy in Islamabad.

Monday`s attack on the consulate staffer took place just five days after hand grenades were lobbed at the Saudi consulate building in Karachi causing minor damage.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed sorrow over the consulate staffer`s death.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered that security should be enhanced around the Saudi consulate, besides providing security to Saudi nationals living in Pakistan.

The terror strike comes close on the heels of the massive bombings in Charsadda that left over 80 newly-trained troopers dead.

It was the most serious terror attack in Pakistan since al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden`s killing by US commandos in Abbottabad May 2. Both Al Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban had vowed to avenge Osama`s death by threatening to launch attacks in Pakistan as well as in other parts of the world.

IANS