Sjefredaktøren for den saudiarabiske avisen Arab News tror ikke attentatet på BBC-teamet i Riyadh søndag kveld var tilfeldig.
Khaled Almaeena tror ikke det var en såkalt drive-by-shooting, og at kameramann Simon Cumbers og Frank Gardner ble tilfeldig valgt. Cumbers døde umiddelbart.
Almaeena og Gardner (42) er gode venner, og Almaeena fikk en tekstmelding fra Gardner om at han var i Riyadh og gjerne ville møte ham mandag formiddag. Gardner sa ikke noe om at han skulle besøke bydelen Suwaida.
«He texted me and I did call him back later, but he didn’t tell me he was going [to Suweidi]. I wish he had told me – I would have told him not to go,» Almaeena said.
«It’s not a bad area, but the fact that he was taking a camera in there and going to the home of a known radical who has been killed… I believe it was not a random shooting. I believe there was a spotter who might have called someone.
«That area is middle class, hustle-bustle, conservative. Something went wrong, tragically. Was he followed? Was he lured into that place?» he added.
Almaeena said he was surprised that Gardner, who had many years’ experience of reporting on the Middle East, had been caught up in such an incident.
«I know Frank well. He was a real security expert, he knew the nuances. He took precautions,» he said.
Attack on BBC crew ‘not a random shooting’
Jason Deans, broadcasting editor
Tuesday June 8, 2004