BBC cameraman dies in Saudi attack

Security situation worsens in Saudi Arabia as Irish cameraman working for the BBC dies in Riyadh gun attack.

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By  John Irish Published  June 7, 2004

Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers died yesterday (June 06) following an attack by ‘unknown elements’ in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. A second man, BBC security correspondent and Al Qaeda expert Frank Gardner, was also shot, but after undergoing surgery is now in a stable condition. According to the BBC, the two men had travelled to Saudi Arabia after terror attacks in Khobar last week, which left 22 people dead. “Our thoughts are with the families of Simon and Frank,” said Richard Sambrook, BBC director of news. We are in touch with them and offering them all the support that we can.” Quoting security sources, Reuters confirmed that the gunman had escaped the scene. The situation in Saudi Arabia over the last year has gradually escalated. In 2003, militants, linked to Al Qaeda, carried out multiple suicide attacks against expatriate compounds. Over the last few months, following an attack in Yanbu on May 01, the focus has turned to destabilising Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. Recent reports from Gardner and Cumbers already spoke of a growing climate of fear within the expatriate community with many foreigners opting to leave the Kingdom. “"Frank Gardner is personally known to me and to many people in Saudi Arabia as a highly respected journalist," the Saudi ambassador to the UK told the BBC. “He has been vigorous in his pursuit of the truth behind the terrible evil of al-Qaeda which haunts us all and we wish him a speedy recover and safe return to his family in Britain." As the first attack against foreign journalists in the Kingdom it marks an alarming and high profile twist to recent events.

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