Last updated: 11 December, 2014

Saudi arrests three IS ‘supporters’ for shooting Dane

Three supporters of the Islamic State group in Saudi Arabia have been arrested for shooting and wounding a Danish citizen last month, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

“The perpetrators of this vile attack, three Saudis, have been arrested,” ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

He said they “perpetrated their crime in support of the terrorist group Daesh”, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The victim “was injured in the shoulder and chest,” Turki said.

“Security was able to find the weapon used, which was a pistol (Glock) and the car used in the attack, as forensic evidence.”

Turki added that the suspects “trained for two weeks” before the attack.

Denmark has confirmed that one of its nationals was shot and wounded in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 22.

Last week an IS-linked media group released a video claiming to show the shooting of a Danish citizen by its “supporters” in Saudi Arabia, US-based monitoring group SITE said.

The video shows an individual shooting from the backseat window of a vehicle at the driver of a white car on a highway in a desert area.

It identifies the driver of the white car as Danish citizen “Thomas Hopner.”

Officials in Saudi Arabia have not identified the victim.

The Dane was driving away from work at a company in Riyadh’s Al-Kharj Road area when he was shot, SPA reported.

Authorities have arrested the alleged gunmen, driver and videographer, Turki said.

A week after the incident, someone stabbed and wounded a Canadian while he shopped at a mall in Dhahran on Saudi Arabia’s Gulf coast.

Several Westerners were killed in Saudi Arabia in a wave of Al-Qaeda violence between 2003 and 2007.

The latest arrests come as Saudi Arabia — along with several other Arab countries — takes part in US-led air strikes against IS in Syria.

Canada and Denmark are among Western states taking part in a similar aerial bombing campaign against IS in Iraq.

In November, Saudi Arabia blamed IS-linked suspects for the killing of seven Shiites, including children, in Eastern Province.

IS has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq — bordering Saudi Arabia — as well as in Syria. It has been accused of widespread atrocities including the beheading of Western hostages.

The video claiming that IS supporters attacked the Dane also carried an audio recording, allegedly of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying that Saudi rulers will see “no more security or rest”.

The kingdom is home to Islam’s holiest sites and practises a strict version of Sunni Islam.