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6 dead in ‘criminal’ attack on Saudi education office

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Riyad: A man killed six employees at an education department office in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, the interior ministry said, describing it as a “criminal” attack.

The attack in which two others were wounded occurred in the southern province of Jazan at about 2:00 pm (1100 GMT), ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told AFP.

“This is a criminal act,” said Turki, adding that one suspect had been arrested.

He was unable to immediately confirm how the victims were killed but state television reported it was a shooting.

The identity and motive of the suspect were unclear.

Al-Ekhbariya state television, citing police, said the suspect was not an employee but had some business at the ministry.

Officers responded to a report that a man “was shooting at a number of employees while they were carrying out their duties,” the channel reported on its Twitter account.

On the Internet, purported pictures from the scene showed at least five ambulances outside a building resembling a low-rise apartment block.

The attack occurred in the remote community of Ad Dair, several kilometres (miles) from the Yemeni border.

Jazan and other southern border districts have been shelled by rebels in Yemen since March last year when a Saudi-led coalition began air strikes and later ground operations to halt the advance of the Huthi rebels there.

More than 90 soldiers and civilians have been killed in shelling and skirmishes in the Saudi border region.

Elsewhere in the kingdom there have been mass shootings and bombings claimed by the Islamic State group against the Shiite minority community. IS has also targeted the security forces.

But criminal mass shootings are rare in Saudi Arabia.

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