Celebratory gunfire leaves 23 dead at Saudi wedding

Wednesday 31 October 2012 12.13
Saudi Arabia banned the shooting of firearms at weddings last month
Saudi Arabia banned the shooting of firearms at weddings last month

Celebratory gunfire at a wedding party in eastern Saudi Arabia last night brought down an electric cable, killing 23 people, a local civil defence official said.

"At the wedding, the cable fell on a metal door and the 23 people who died were all electrocuted," Eastern Province official Abdullah Khashman said.

A photograph of the aftermath of the accident, published on local newspapers' websites, showed a large courtyard strewn with fallen chairs and a pole in the middle supporting cables carrying lightbulbs.

All those killed were from the same tribe, Mr Khashman said.

About 30 others were injured in the incident near Abqaiq, a centre of the Saudi energy industry.

Saudi Arabia banned the shooting of firearms at weddings, a popular tradition in tribal areas of the conservative Islamic kingdom, last month.

Eastern Province governor Prince Mohammed bin Fahd has ordered an investigation into the incident, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.