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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
British father-of-six shot dead
Map of Saudi Arabia showing capital Riyadh
A British man shot dead in the Saudi capital Riyadh leaves behind a wife and six children, it has emerged.

Edmund Muirhead-Smith, 55, was killed in a shopping centre car park in an eastern suburb.

Witnesses said two gunmen in a Toyota car shot the victim four times as he walked towards his car on Wednesday.

A statement from the family said: "At this time we are struggling to come to terms with the news. He will be greatly missed by us... our love is with him."

Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sherard Cowper-Coles, condemned the killing.

"His murder will only make the British Government more determined to stand with the Saudi government and people in the struggle against senseless terror of this kind," he said.

There is no evidence to suggest that he was targeted other than for being a Westerner
Marconi spokesman
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues."

Mr Muirhead-Smith, from Torquay in Devon, was an employee of communications firm Marconi.

A company spokesman said: "We take security in the region very seriously. It seems that Edmund was a victim of a chance shooting.

"There is no evidence to suggest that he was targeted other than for being a Westerner."

Security sources told Reuters news agency that the shooting was linked to a wave of anti-Western attacks in Saudi Arabia by supporters of al-Qaeda.

Militants linked to al-Qaeda have killed at least 90 police and civilians in a 15-month campaign to destabilise the US-allied Saudi monarchy.

The attacks in the conservative Muslim kingdom, much of whose economy depends on foreign workers, are aimed at driving Westerners out of the country and damaging its oil industry.

Several Britons have been among the victims of attacks.

In May, two Britons were among six people shot dead by militants in an oil contractor's office in Yanbu, north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah.

Another died in an attack on a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar later in the month.

BBC correspondent Frank Gardner was shot and seriously wounded in a shooting in Riyadh in June. His Irish colleague, cameraman Simon Cumbers, was killed.


SEE ALSO:
Evolving tactics of Islamic militants
21 Jul 04  |  Middle East
Fresh blows to shaky Saudi security
12 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Timeline: Saudi Arabia
12 Aug 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
12 Aug 04  |  Country profiles


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