Monday, 4 July 2016

Medina explosion: Suicide bombing near Saudi holy site


Media captionThe attack occurred soon after sundown at during the holy month of Ramadan
A suicide bomber has killed four security officers and injured five others near one of Islam's holiest sites in the Saudi city of Medina, according to the interior ministry.
The bomber detonated his explosives after being stopped outside the Prophet's Mosque, a statement said.
The mosque is the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad and Medina the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca.
Suicide blasts also struck two other Saudi cities on Monday.
That an attack happened in Medina at such a place is likely to leave Muslims around the world aghast, BBC World Service's Middle East editor, Alan Johnston, says.
Suspicion is likely to fall on so-called Islamic State (IS), he adds.
Bomb blast site in Medina, 4 JulyImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionImages showed a blazing vehicle near the mosque in Medina
Al-Arabiya gave a different account of the incident, saying the bomber had targeted the security officers by pretending he wanted to break his Ramadan fast with them.
Qari Ziyaad Patel, 36, from South Africa, who was in the mosque, told the Associated Press news agency people had at first thought it was the sound of the cannon fire that marks the breaking of fast.
The ground shook, he said, adding: "The vibrations were very strong. It sounded like a building imploded."
Smoke rises behind the Prophet's Mosque in MedinaImage copyrightEPA/SAUDIPRESSAGENCY
Image captionThe site is one of Islam's holiest
Earlier, at least one explosion rocked Qatif, an eastern city which is home to many minority Shia Muslims.
The blast appeared to target a Shia mosque. The attacker was killed but no other casualties were reported.
A suspected suicide bomber also died after detonating a device near the US consulate in the city of Jeddah. Two security officers were slightly injured as they tackled the man, but no-one else was hurt.
No-one has yet said they were behind any of the attacks.
They come with the holy month of Ramadan drawing to a close and ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Saudi Arabia has been the target of attacks by IS over the past two years.
In June, the interior ministry said there had been 26 "terror attacks" in the kingdom in that time.
Map of Saudi Arabia
A series of deadly attacks worldwide were either claimed by, or blamed on, IS over the past week:

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