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British man shot and killed in Riyadh; Saudi suspect in custody

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP)_ A British man was shot and killed Thursday waiting for a traffic light to change, and a Saudi citizen was arrested, the Interior Ministry said.

The British man, an employee of the British aviation and aerospace company, BAE Systems, died immediately, the ministry said in a statement.

BAE said Friday that the victim was Robert Dent. On Thursday, it had mistakenly reported him as Robert Denith.

``We don't know what the motive is. The Saudi authorities are dealing with it,'' said company spokesman Walid Abukhaled.

On Wednesday, Britain upgraded its travel warnings on some Middle East countries, advising its citizens in Iraq to leave the country and warning against travel to Kuwait, Israel and the Palestinian territories. It cited ``increasing regional tension and of the risk of terrorist action.''

Saudi security officials identified the alleged attacker as Saud bin Ali bin Nasser, 30.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sent condolences to Dent's family.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Britain, Prince Turki al-Faisal, expressed his government's condolences to England's Channel 4 news. Asked what might have been the cause of the attack, he said, ``One should not allow speculation to be the norm, but rather facts.''

Western diplomats suspect groups sympathetic to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden are behind a string of attacks in Saudi Arabia since late 2000. The government blames gangs fighting over the illegal liquor trade.

Bin Laden, whose Saudi citizenship was revoked in 1994, calls for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family and demands American troops leave the country, which was home to 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers.

In the most recent previous attack on a foreigner, a British man, also an employee of BAE Systems, was shot in Riyadh on Feb 7 by three men following his car. The man was not hit but was cut by flying glass. There were been no arrests.

A 35-year-old British banker was killed by a car bomb in Riyadh on June 20, 2002. On Sept. 29, 2002, a German man in Riyadh was killed in a car explosion that Saudi authorities blamed on gang rivalries over the illegal alcohol trade.

Bombings in Riyadh on Nov. 17 and 22, 2000, killed one Briton and injured four other foreigners. A Canadian, a Briton and a Belgian are being held on suspicion of involvement in the bombings, which the Saudi government linked to the black market.
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