Brit Soldiers 'assault' Arab youth in London

Saturday 27 November 2004, 18:10 Makka Time, 15:10 GMT

A Syrian student has lost an eye after he was set upon by five British soldiers outside a London nightclub in an apparent racist attack, a London-based newspaper reported.

The Saudi-owned Al Hayat said on Thursday Adnan Said, 23, was hit in the face by a bottle thrown by one of the soldiers as he was heading for the disco with some friends.

Said, the nephew of a Saudi billionaire of Syrian origin, Wafic Said, 65, told the newspaper, "I was speaking Arabic. That is the only reason I think they started swearing at us."

He added, "I was hit in the face with a bottle. I had my hand to my face and there was blood everywhere."

A police spokeswoman confirmed that "a 23-year-old man was taken by ambulance to St Mary's hospital suffering from serious facial injuries" after a fight involving some 10 men outside the Wellington Club in the posh Knightsbrige district on 19 November.

Five men were arrested and later released on bail, she added.

According to the London Evening Standard daily the soldiers belonged to the elite Household Cavalry regiment, the sovereign's personal bodyguard.

It quoted a military spokesman as saying they had returned to duty after their arrest.


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