Misogynist who threw acid on women shoppers in Jeddah

The man (left) who threw acid on women in shopping centers in Jeddah. An abaya with acid marks. — Okaz photos

By Ibrahim Alawi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The police arrested a man who threw acid at random women in shopping centers.

Makkah Police spokesman Col. Ati Al-Qurashi said the police received several reports from women who claimed that they were assaulted by a man who threw acid at them. The police tracked the man and arrested him.

The man, who is Syrian and in his 30s, is reported to have psychological issues.

He confessed to the police that his victims were chosen at random. He said he targeted women who wore colored or embroidered abayas (a predominantly black cloak women wear as hijab) because many women rejected his marriage proposals.

The offender began his series of assault two days before Eid. His attacks took place in several shopping centers in downtown Jeddah and north of Jeddah. The first victim was in a shopping center on Saud Al-Faisal Street. The offender walked up to her and spilled acid on her attire. She wasn’t aware of what he had spilled and saw him walk away smiling in a strange fashion. The woman reported the incident to the police.

The offender went into hiding for a few days without new offenses. He then went out again with the same intention and assaulted three women at a shopping center and another woman at another shopping center on King Fahd Road. A witness saw him running away and called after him asking was why he running. The man replied saying he was looking for his residence permit and wallet. The witness did not think much of it until he saw a group of people surrounding a woman who was saying that she was sprayed with an acid.

Jeddah Police is also investigating a woman who spread rumors on social media by recording voice notes claiming that the acid attackers are a gang of Africans targeting women and children. The woman also said that her information is credible because she is an employee at King Fahd Hospital and that she herself saw the victims. The woman’s messages spread fear and panic among shoppers.