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Saudi diplomat gunned down

world Updated: May 16, 2011 23:32 IST

A Saudi Arabian diplomat was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on Monday, just five days after hand grenades were lobbed at the Saudi consulate in the Pakistani port city.

The diplomat was killed while driving to the consulate in the morning in his vehicle on Khayaban-e-Shahbaz road.

The Saudi diplomat, identified as Hassan Al-Qahqani, was not escorted by bodyguards when the gunmen, on fast-driven motorcycles, opened fire, hitting his car with at least four bullets.

One bullet struck Al-Qahqani in the head causing his instant death, Online quoted Deputy Inspector General (South) Iqbal Mehmood as saying.

According to witnesses, two armed motorcyclists opened fire at the diplomat's car. Police and rangers had launched investigations into the deadly attack.

On May 11, two hand-grenades were hurled at the Saudi consulate building here causing minor damage.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed deep grief and sorrow over the tragic death of the Saudi diplomat, the prime minister office in Islamabad said

The gunmen shot dead the Saudi diplomat in an apparent move to avenge the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, police and the Saudi consulate said. Osama was killed May 2 in Pakistan's Abbottabad city by US commandos.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ordered enhancing security around the Saudi consulate, besides providing security to Saudi nationals living in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia condemned the attack and urged Pakistan authorities to tighten security measures.

"The kingdom strongly condemns the criminal attack that targeted one of its members, Hasan al-Khatani, who was treacherously assassinated while on his way to work," said a foreign ministry official.