Suicide attackers target Prophet (PBUH)’s Mosque in Medina, Shia mosque in Qatif and US consulate in Jeddah
Six people, including four security personnel, killed in Masjid Al-Nabavi bombing
Two suicide bombers target Shia mosque in Qatif, no casualties reported
Suicide attacker injures two policemen in bombing near US consulate in Jeddah
Six people were killed when a suicide bomber struck near Al-Masjid an-Nabavi or the Prophet’s Mosque in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina, the second-holiest site in Islam, while three suicide bombers struck in the eastern city of Qatif and Jeddah, but there were no casualties in those attacks.
The attacks over a 24-hour period came on the heels of massive jihadi assaults in the Muslim world last week.
Saudi authorities confirmed it was a suicide bombing that killed at least four security guards outside Al-Masjid an-Nabavi.
Al-Arabiya TV said, “The bomber detonated his device as security officers were breaking their Ramzan fast.” Footage on the TV network showed a blazing vehicle.
CNN reported that the bomber killed four people and wounded another, according to an official with knowledge of the event.
The sprawling mosque where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is buried is visited by millions of Muslims from around the world each year during pilgrimages to Makkah. The area would have been packed with pilgrims for prayer during the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, which ends this week.
BOMBING OUTSIDE SHIA MOSQUE IN QATIF:
Also Monday evening, two suicide bombers struck near a Shia mosque in Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, according to a resident there, several hours after another suicide bomber carried out an attack near the US Consulate in the western city of Jeddah.
The possibility of coordinated, multiple attacks across different cities in Saudi Arabia on the same day underscores the threat the kingdom faces from extremists who view the Western-allied Saudi monarchy as heretics and enemies of Islam. Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Witnesses in Qatif said a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque without causing any other injuries.
The attack in the eastern region of Qatif did not appear to cause any injuries, said resident Mohammed al-Nimr, whose brother is Nimr-al-Nimr, a prominent Saudi Shia cleric executed in January. He told a foreign news agency that the bomber detonated his suicide vest when most residents of the neighborhood were at home breaking the fast.
Qatif is heavily populated by Shias, who are a minority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom. Al-Nimr said that near the body of a suicide bomber was a car bomb that also went off around the same time.
The IS group’s local affiliates in the kingdom have previously attacked Shia places of worship, including an attack on a Shia mosque in Qatif in May 2015 that killed 21 people.
BOMBER STRIKES NEAR US CONSULATE IN JEDDAH:
Earlier Monday, the Interior Ministry said a suicide bomber had detonated his explosives when security guards approached him near the US Consulate in Jeddah. The attacker died and the two security men were lightly wounded, according to the ministry statement, which was published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Some cars in the parking lot were also damaged.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki was quoted in the statement as saying the guards noticed the man was acting suspiciously at an intersection on the corner of the heavily fortified consulate, near a hospital and a mosque.
The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia confirmed there were no casualties among consular staff, and said it remains in contact with Saudi authorities as they investigate.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Interior Ministry did not say whether the bomber intended to target the US diplomatic compound, adding that an investigation is underway to determine his identity.
The state-run news channel al-Ekhbariya, quoting the Interior Ministry, said the bomber was not a Saudi citizen, but a resident of the kingdom. It gave no further details on his nationality. There are around nine million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia, which has a total population of 30 million.