Bodyguard of Saudi King Salman 'shot dead' amid suspicions
Tributes poured in across social media for Maj. Gen. Abdulaziz al-Fagham, with many including images of the bodyguard at work. One included him bending down to apparently help tie the shoes of King Salman, the 83-year-old ruler of the oil-rich kingdom.
Others show al-Fagham in the background of events with both King Salman and his predecessor, the late King Abdullah.
While officials posted condolences for al-Fagham, the first official word of his death came in a single tweet by Saudi state television.
"Maj. Gen. Abdulaziz al-Fagham, bodyguard of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was shot dead following a personal dispute in Jeddah," the tweet read.
Just hours after the initial announcement on state television, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the dispute saw a friend of al-Fagham shoot and kill him, as well as wound another Saudi and a Filipino worker there. A gunfight erupted as security forces rushed to the home that saw the shooter killed and five members of the security forces wounded, the news agency reported.
The daily newspaper Okaz, while offering no details on the shooting that led to his death, described al-Fagham in a headline as: "The Keeper of Kings."
Officials in the kingdom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Despite the official state announcement, details surrounding the death remained vague, prompting questions and suspicions to surface.
Foreign journalists said on Twitter that Fagham was dismissed from his post a few days ago, and that this made his death suspicious, with echoes of last year’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a year after the tragic murder in Istanbul.
Gun crimes are rare in Saudi Arabia, where convicted killers and drug smugglers are routinely executed. In 2017, there were 419 reported homicides, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Saudi Arabia is home to over 30 million people.
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