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Wed 10 Aug 2011 02:28 PM

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Saudi gunman killed by palace 'was drug addict'

Man with handgun was not trying to kill Prince Nayef, say Saudi police

Saudi gunman killed by palace 'was drug addict'
The man was killed near the palace of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef

A gunman killed near the Saudi interior minister's palace on Saturday was a drug addict with delusions and was not trying to assassinate the royal family member, Saudi police said on Wednesday.

Security forces killed the man, who had a handgun, after he fired at a checkpoint near the private palace of Interior Minister and Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz.

"He was a drug addict and suffered from delusions ... The attack was at a checkpoint in a street near the palace. As soon as he saw the checkpoint, he fired. His illness made him see everyone around him as his enemies," First Lieutenant Nawaf Nasser said of Saturday's incident.

The gunman, Khodran bin Bakheet al-Zahrani, was a patient at a drug-abuse rehabilitation facility in Jeddah in 2006 and suffered from mental illness, Jeddah police said in an emailed statement.

In 2009, Prince Nayef's son, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who oversees the Saudi counter-terrorism programme, was the target of a failed suicide bombing by a man posing as a repentant Islamist militant.

The world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament or political parties.

Prince Nayef, who is believed to be in his late 70s, spearheaded a crackdown in 2003-06 on al-Qaeda militants who aimed to destabilise the country through a campaign of attacks.

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