World News

Shots fired at minibus in Saudi, no one hurt: ministry

RIYADH (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on a minibus carrying foreigners in the industrial region of Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, but no one was injured, a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The minibus was carrying five passengers -- three Britons, a Syrian, and one Saudi -- and a Pakistani driver, the spokesman said. The shots were fired from a car traveling behind the minibus, shattering the rear window, Mansour al-Turki said.

“None of the passengers got harmed,” Turki said, without elaborating.

A British embassy official declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

Jubail is located in the eastern province, the center of the Saudi oil industry which employs thousands of expatriates. The kingdom is the world’s largest oil exporter and a staunch U.S. ally.

Jubail is home to a large industrial zone comprising heavy industries such as petrochemical plants, many of which are owned by state-controlled Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC).

Al Qaeda staged an unsuccessful campaign of violence including suicide attacks on foreign residential compounds, oil installations and government buildings to destabilize the Gulf Arab country from 2003 to 2006.

Since then there have been some isolated attacks on foreigners in the kingdom. Three French expatriates working in Saudi Arabia were shot dead during a desert trip in 2007, the last major attack.

Saudi Arabia has indicted at least 991 suspected al Qaeda militants for carrying out 30 attacks since 2003, the interior ministry said in October. Thousands have been detained since 2003 on suspicion of links with al Qaeda.

Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Souhail Karam; Editing by Alison Williams