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.
الله يرحمك يابطل … عشرة سنين لم ارى منك الا كل خير واخلاص … كنت معي على الهاتف اليوم وتضحك وتتكلم عن الرياض … رحمك الله رحمك الله يا ابوعبدالله … الحمدالله على قضاءه وقدره … غير مستوعب اني لن اراك بعد اليوم! pic.twitter.com/gNEw0hKAgh
— TURKI ALALSHIKH (@Turki_alalshikh) September 29, 2019
Tawfiq al-Rabiah, Saudi minister of health, offered his condolences on Twitter.
أتقدم لمقام #خادم_الحرمين_الشريفين و #ولي_العهد حفظهما الله بالعزاء
في وفاة اللواء #عبدالعزيز_الفغم
اللهم ارحمه رحمة واسعة واجعل مثواه الجنه وأكرم نزله والهم أهله وذويه الصبر والسلوان.
حرس ملوكنا فسكن قلوبنا. pic.twitter.com/blsjDDbxtV
— توفيق الربيعة (@tfrabiah) September 29, 2019
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.