The M.O. is distinctly Saudi but every society has its lunatics and there’s no evidence suggesting it was motivated by anything more than a family spat, so no grand cultural comment here. Even so, we’re getting lots of tips about it.

Just because.

Early morning shoppers at a supermarket in Jeddah were left reeling yesterday, with some falling unconscious, after a well-built Syrian man clinched a knife and decapitated his 15-month-old nephew in front of his mother in the store’s fruit and vegetable section.

In a brutal murder that has shocked the city, the 25-year-old man beheaded the boy, who was out shopping with his mother — in full glare of shoppers and staff at Al-Marhaba supermarket on Sari Street around 9.30 a.m. The man, who is the boy’s maternal uncle, apparently killed the boy following a dispute with his sister and brother-in-law.

Eyewitnesses said that the man picked up a knife from inside the store and severed the boy’s head. The mother and a shopper standing close by fainted, while several other stood in shock and disbelief over what had happened…

“It happened so quickly. Before people could intervene, the man had cut more than half way through the child’s neck,” said Abu Muhammad, a grandfather in his mid-60s…

An eyewitness, who lives in the neighborhood, said that the victim’s family lived close by and frequented the supermarket. “I’ve seen the murderer carrying the same child and playing with him on a number of occasions,” he added.