Dozens of customers and employees were ushered out of Ikea in Doha Festival City last night due to a “security issue,” a spokesperson for the home furniture store has confirmed.
One resident told Doha News that shoppers were kept away from the main building by police and not told of the reason behind the evacuation, which took place around 9:45pm.
Speaking to Doha News, the retailer also declined to divulge what led up to the evacuation.
“We thought there may be a situation where the store may be unsafe,” said Nazneen Yasin, a public relations manager working with Ikea in Doha Festival City.
In a statement, the store said it reopened for business as usual once the premises were declared safe and that no one was hurt during the incident.
“Ikea adheres to stringent health and safety standards and holds the security of its co-workers and customers in the highest regard,” Ikea added.
Qatar is one of the safest countries in the world, according to some rankings, and has a crime rate that’s low relative to many other countries.
But in recent months, security has been visibly increased at malls, hotels and churches at the religious complex with metal detectors and vehicle inspections.
Some residents also reported seeing such measures in place at Ikea over the summer:
@dohanews High security at IKEA too. Underside of cars being checked, basement parking shut, and no parking in spaces closest to building
— Amy Bambridge (@escapetoqatar) July 20, 2015
Speaking to Doha News over the summer, some hotels said that they were following a Ministry of Interior directive, but that there were no public reports of specific threats.
That came in the aftermath of a suicide bombing of a Shia mosque in Kuwait that killed 27 people and injured more than 200 others during Friday prayers in June.
Last week, a Kuwait court sentenced seven people to death for their role in the bombing, which was carried out by a Saudi citizen, according to the BBC. The report said an additional eight suspects received prison terms of between two and 15 years, while 14 others were acquitted.
In July, the US Embassy in Doha issued a security message to its citizens, warning them to “remain vigilant regarding their personal security” as Ramadan drew to an end, particularly while visiting public places such as malls and hotels.
So far, neither the US or UK embassies have published any similar warnings as Eid Al Adha approaches.
Were you at Ikea last night? Thoughts?