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Saudi convicts 8 for deadly attacks on foreigners in 2004 that killed BBC cameraman


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A court in Saudi Arabia found eight men guilty of involvement in a series of deadly attacks against foreigners in the kingdom 10 years ago, among them an assault that killed a BBC cameraman and paralyzed the news organization's correspondent, local media reported Tuesday.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that three of the men were given death sentences and five were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 25 to 30 years. All have the right to appeal. They are part of an alleged 86-member terrorist cell that recruited militants for al-Qaida. No further details were provided by SPA.

The Saudi Arab News website reported that the group carried out attacks on foreigners in the Eastern Province in 2004 and the capital Riyadh in 2003. Nearly 40 people died in those attacks, including Saudi civilians, policemen and 36 year-old BBC photographer Simon Cumbers. BBC correspondent Frank Gardner was left paralyzed. An Italian hostage was also allegedly murdered by the group.

The BBC said that Cumbers and Gardner were filming a report about al-Qaida near Riyadh in June 2004 when gunmen opened fire on them.

Al-Qaida launched a wave of attacks around a decade ago in Saudi Arabia with the aim of toppling the monarchy. Saudi officials responded with a massive crackdown that saw many flee to neighboring Yemen. In the time since, the kingdom has not witnessed any massive attacks.

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