World

Suicide Bomber Kills 2 In Saudi Arabia

| by Nik Bonopartis
Saudi Arabia on the mapSaudi Arabia on the map

At least two people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked one of Islam's holiest sites in Saudi Arabia.

The attack, near the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, was one of three reportedly coordinated bombings across the country on July 4, according to the BBC.

The bomber approached the mosque's security office as guards were breaking their Ramadan fast, al-Arabiya TV reported, and said he wanted to share food with them. That's when he detonated his payload.

Witnesses described seeing two downed security officers near the blast site, and although a BBC report said there wasn't confirmation if the guards were killed, a subsequent report from the Independent said Saudi state media confirmed the deaths.

Users on social media shared photographs and short videos of the explosion's aftermath, showing plumes of black smoke curling behind the minarets of the Prophet's Mosque, where the Prophet Mohamed is buried.

Qari Ziyaad Patel, 36, from Johannesburg, South Africa, was inside the mosque when the bomb went off. He said he felt the ground shake as he was finishing sunset prayers

"The vibrations were very strong... it sounded like a building imploded," Patel said.

In the other attacks, a bomber blew himself up in a mosque parking lot in the eastern city of Qatif, according to the Independent. No one else was injured in the blast. And in Jeddah, a city of 2.8 million on the country's west coast, a bomber detonated a device near the city's U.S. consulate. Two officers were "slightly injured" as they tackled the fleeing bomber, says the BBC, but no other injuries were reported.

No one had claimed responsibility for the attacks as of late afternoon on June 4, but the BBC noted that the Islamic State has claimed credit for attacks in Saudi Arabia in the past. Terrorist groups and extremists have targeted the kingdom because of its alliances with Western powers, and because they view the monarchy as heretical, the Independent reported.

Sources: BBC, Independent (2) / Photo credit: BBC

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