murder, stabbing, slit,
Representational image. Image Credit: iStockphoto

Cairo: Two Algerians, who were in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Meccah to perform Umrah or minor pilgrimage, were stabbed to death by a compatriot at an hotel in the city, according to media reports.

The Saudi police said the suspected attacker, an Algerian visitor, was arrested after he had stabbed the two visitors and briefly escaped from the site.

The victims were part of a group of Algerians who had earlier this month travelled to Saudi Arabia to undertake Umrah, Algerian newspaper Elkhbar reported.

The suspect in the stabbings is a 40-year-old man, who had been treated at a mental hospital in Algeria before his travel to the holy places in Saudi Arabia, Elkhbar quoted an Algerian travel official as saying.

“On the morning (of Monday), he behaved abnormally as a result of psychological pressure and he was nervous for an unknown reason that made him abnormal,” said Salah Toumi, the secretary-general of Algeria’s National Union of Tourism and Travel agencies.

He added that the suspect had fatally stabbed one pilgrim at the hotel reception and inflicted similar stabs on the second in his room before fleeing.

“The Saudi police arrested him in the Grand Mosque after checking surveillance camera images.”

A pilgrim, who was a roommate of the two deceased pilgrims, is being held pending findings of an investigation into the attack, Toumi said.

The group of the pilgrims had left an airport in Constantine in eastern Algeria on February 14 heading to the holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia where they stayed for three days before going to Mecca, the report said.