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Saudi Arabia: Man arrested after attacking French consulate guard 'with sharp tool'

The attack in Jeddah comes as tensions rise in the aftermath of French President Macron's comments defending the right to publish satirical images of Prophet Muhammad
Mohammed bin Salman and Emmanuel Macron
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad (AFP/file photo)

A Saudi citizen wounded a guard in a knife attack at the French consulate in Jeddah on Thursday, state media and the French embassy has said.

"The assailant was apprehended by Saudi security forces immediately after the attack. The guard was taken to the hospital and his life is not in danger," the embassy said in a statement.

The man was arrested, Saudi state TV reported.

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"The French embassy strongly condemns this attack against a diplomatic outpost that nothing could justify," an embassy statement said.

The attack comes hours after three people were reported killed and several wounded in the French city of Nice in a knife attack that has been described by local officials as "terrorism".

Thursday's attacks come in the wake of the murder of Samuel Paty, a French schoolteacher who was beheaded on 16 October by a young man of Chechen origin who said he did so after Paty showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of speech.

Since Paty's murder, French President Emmanuel Macron has doubled down and defended caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as part of the right to freedom of speech - angering many in the Muslim world and leading to calls for a boycott of French goods, as depictions of Muhammad are generally prohibited in Islam. 

Muslims in France have also seen a backlash, with a number of verbal and physical attacks reported against Muslim women, and a leading Muslim charity dissolved for allegedly preaching “violent ideas.”

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, but held back from echoing calls by other Muslim states for action against France over displaying images of the Prophet.