Published On: Tue, Jul 5th, 2016

Suicide bombers hit three Saudi cities; ‘body parts seen’

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Suicide bombers hit three Saudi cities; ‘body parts seen’

MEDINA/ QATIF/ JEDDAH: Suicide bombers struck three cities across Saudi Arabia on Monday, in an apparently coordinated campaign of attacks as Saudis prepared to break their fast on the penultimate day of the holy month of Ramadan.

The explosions took place near a U.S. consulate in Jeddah, near a mosque in Qatif and near a security headquarters at Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAWW) in the holy city of Medina. The attacks all seem to have been timed to coincide with the approach of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that celebrates the end of the fast.

A witness said one explosion destroyed a car parked near a mosque, in Qatif, followed by another explosion just before 7 p.m. local time. Body parts could be seen and they are believed to be that of an attacker, the witness added.

Photographs purporting to be of the incidents published on Twitter showed a severed leg and crowds gathered outside a mosque at dusk.

A Saudi security official said an attacker parked a car near the U.S. consulate in Jeddah before detonating the device. The official said the government was checking the reports of blasts in Qatif and Medina.

In the only one of the three attacks that appeared to have caused many casualties, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, the second-holiest site in Islam.

Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television said an initial death toll from the Medina blast included three suicide bombers and two security forces officers.

A video sent to Reuters by a witness to the aftermath of the Medina bombing showed a large blaze among parked cars in the fading evening light, with a sound of sirens in the background. A picture sent to Reuters showed a burnt and bleeding man lying on a stretcher in a hospital.

A video sent to Reuters by a witness to the aftermath of the Medina bombing showed a large blaze among parked cars in the fading evening light, with a sound of sirens in the background. A picture sent to Reuters showed a burnt and bleeding man lying on a stretcher in a hospital.

Other pictures circulating on social media showed dark smoke billowing from flames near the Mosque of the Prophet, originally built in the 7th century by the Prophet Muhammad, who is buried there along with his first two successors.

In Qatif, an eastern city that is home to many members of the Shi’ite minority, at least one and possibly two explosions struck near a Shi’ite mosque.

Witnesses described body parts, apparently of a suicide bomber, in the aftermath.

A resident of the city reached by telephone said there were believed to be no casualties there apart from the attacker, as worshippers had already gone home to break their fasts. Civil defense forces were cleaning up the area and police were investigating, the resident said.

A video circulating on social media and purporting to show the aftermath of a Qatif blast showed an agitated crowd on a street, with a fire raging near a building, and a bloody body part lying on the ground. Reuters could not immediately verify the video.

Hours earlier a suicide bomber was killed and two people were wounded in a blast near the U.S. consulate in the kingdom’s second city Jeddah.

The Jeddah blast was the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Islamic State has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi’ite Muslim minority and security services.

Police and groups of local volunteers increased security near mosques in Qatif after suicide bombings hit mosques in Shi’ite areas last year, killing dozens. Another suicide blast at a mosque used by security forces also killed 15 a year ago.

Islamic State has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi’ite Muslim minority and security services.

Suicide bomber strikes near Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAWW): al-Arabiya

A suicide bomber detonated a device near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, the second-holiest site in Islam, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television had reported. The blast followed others in Qatif and Jeddah on Monday.

A city known as al-Munawarrah, or “the radiant, light-filled” | Saudi Arabia’s city of Medina ‘hit by suicide bomb’https://t.co/whdFix9Coo;

Bomber killed, two police wounded in Jeddah blast

Earlier, a suicide bomber was killed and two people were wounded in a blast near the U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia’s second city of Jeddah early on Monday, state TV said, the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom.

The attacker parked his car outside a hospital opposite the consulate at about 2.15 a.m. and detonated his device after being approached by two security men, killing him and lightly wounding them, it said, quoting a security spokesman.

Three further blasts rocked the location of the bombing hours later, a witness told Reuters, as police carried out what appeared to be controlled explosions near the site.

A video sent by the witness showed police taking cover behind vehicles and covering their ears before a blast.

In a statement, the U.S. consulate said there were no casualties or injuries among its staff, adding that it and the U.S. embassy were in contact with Saudi authorities investigating the incident.

Reuters could not immediately reach officials for further details. A photograph on the Sabq news website showed what appeared to be the remains of a man lying beside a taxi.

State television avoided direct reference to the presence of the diplomatic mission, mentioning only the street address, an apparent effort to downplay the likely target of the attack.

A State Department message to U.S. citizens in Saudi Arabia reiterated advice to keep aware of their surroundings and take extra precautions when travelling.

The witness said the area had been closed off by security forces, with helicopters hovering overhead. The explosion appeared to have taken place about 20 m (65 feet) from an outer checkpoint of the consulate, he added. Concrete barriers protect the street outside the consulate.

Islamic State has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi’ite Muslim minority and security services.

A decade ago, an al Qaeda campaign focused on Western expatriates in the world’s top oil exporter, killing hundreds in attacks on businesses and residential compounds. One 2004 attack hit the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, killing nine.

News Source ARY News

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

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