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North of Medina

A note of personal interest for me today, that sadly, three Frenchmen were killed yesterday and at least one other was injured when they were singled out for attack by militants while travelling in the Saudi Arabian desert north of Medina.

The victims, part of a group of eight travellers were fired on after a car stopped them on a road near the town of Tabouk and an archeological site near Madain Saleh. The archaeological site Madain Saleh is a site of extraordinary tombs that were carved into the side of cliffs between 100 BC and 100 AD when it was a thriving kingdom of Nabataean people. When I went there in the eighties, it was very isolated and I was fully bearded, in disguise, quite literally, with a pass from the Saudi interior ministry; it's wild country up there towards the Jordan border and not a place that I would consider safe to visit without some form of protection in place.

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