Saudi king’s bodyguard killed in personal dispute: State media

Officials offer condolences after state media reports killing of Major General Abdulaziz al-Fagham.

Saudi Arabia''s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud walks with Iraq's President Barham Salih during his visit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [File: Handout via Reuters]

A prominent bodyguard to Saudi Arabia‘s King Salman has been shot and killed in a personal dispute, according to state media.

Major General Abdulaziz al-Fagham was killed in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, where the government relocates for the summer months, the al-Ekhbariya broadcaster reported on Sunday.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said al-Fagham was shot and killed while visiting a friend’s home.

Citing a police statement, SPA said a conversation between al-Fagham and Mamdouh bin Meshaal Al Ali – a third man present, described as a friend – grew heated and Al Ali retrieved a firearm from outside and opened fire.

The shooter refused to surrender to police who had surrounded the site and subsequently shot him dead, the statement said. Another Saudi, a Filipino and five members of the security forces were also wounded by gunfire, it added.

Al-Fagham was transferred to a hospital but died from his wounds.

Tributes poured in on social media for al-Fagham, with many posts including images of the bodyguard at work.

“May you rest in peace, hero …” senior Royal Court adviser Turki al-Sheikh tweeted.

Tawfiq al-Rabiah, Saudi minister of health, offered his condolences on Twitter. 

The daily newspaper Okaz, while offering no details on the shooting, described al-Fagham in a headline as: “The Keeper of Kings”.

Gun crimes are rare in Saudi Arabia, where strict Islamic law sees convicted killers and drug smugglers routinely executed. In 2017, there were 419 reported homicides, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Saudi Arabia is home to more than 30 million people.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies