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BBC worker killed in kingdom

Riyadh shooting also injures correspondent

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- An Irish journalist was killed and a British journalist injured in a shooting in the Saudi capital yesterday, hours after the foreign minister said the kingdom was doing ''everything we can" to protect citizens and residents.

Both men were working for the British Broadcasting Corp. In London, the broadcaster identified the dead man as Simon Cumbers, 36, a cameraman working for the BBC, and the injured man as BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, 42.

A British Embassy spokesman in Riyadh earlier confirmed that a British national was injured and a non-British national was killed in the shooting by unidentified gunmen in a Riyadh neighborhood at 5:45 p.m.

The violence occurred less than a week after 22 people, most of them foreigners, were killed in a shooting rampage and hostage-taking in the eastern Saudi oil hub of Khobar. Saudi security forces captured one of the four attackers in the May 29 assault and are still looking for the other three.

Many viewed the attack as an attempt by Islamic radicals to drive foreigners out of the kingdom, a move that could seriously hurt its oil industry. The attacks last week sent oil price to record highs.

The British Foreign Office has advised British nationals against all nonessential travel to Saudi Arabia. The United States has gone further, urging all of its citizens to leave the kingdom, a move criticized by Saudi officials.

The two journalists had gone to Saudi Arabia last week after the terror attacks.

Cumbers was a freelance journalist and cameraman who had worked for Associated Press Television News and ITN, the BBC said. After the shooting, Saudi television showed footage of a dark-haired man sitting, half-upright, in the middle of a street, two bloodstains visible on his white shirt.

Earlier yesterday, in Jiddah, Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal said at a news conference that terrorist attacks in the kingdom will not force the government to give up the fight against ''this oppressive group that is isolated legally [and] socially."

Saud's remarks were the first to reporters by a Saudi official since gunmen in Khobar attacked two office compounds and then took hostages at a hotel in the luxury Oasis housing compound.

About 50 people were at the hotel when the gunmen took it over. The gunmen killed at least nine hostages before they escaped in the early hours of May 30.

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