Suicide bombers hit major Saudi Arabia cities

Mecca Sallah tragedy

Two explosions have struck near a mosque in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Qatif, residents say.

Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV also reported a suicide explosion near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

The mosque is the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad and Medina the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca.

In Qatif, on the Gulf coast, witnesses said a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque on Monday evening without causing any other injuries.

They reported seeing body parts lying on the ground in the city’s business district.

“Suicide bomber for sure. I can see the body” which was blasted to pieces, a resident told the AFP news agency.

Nasima al-Sada, another resident, told AFP that “one bomber blew himself up near the mosque”, frequented by Shia Muslims in downtown Qatif, on the Gulf coast.

Another witness told Reuters news agency that one explosion destroyed a car parked near a mosque, followed by another explosion just before 7pm local time.

“We are in the last 10 days of Ramadan and those places are crowded because of that for Maghreb [sunset] prayers,” Khaled Batarfi, a Saudi Gazette columnist, told Al Jazeera.

Early on Monday morning, two security officers were injured as a suicide bomber blew himself up near the US consulate in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

In January, at least four people were killed in a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in the eastern al-Ahsa region of Saudi Arabia.

In late October of 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in Najran city, in which at least one person was killed.

ISIS had also claimed responsibility for an attack at a mosque inside a Special Forces headquarters in the city of Abha in August 2015. Fifteen people were killed in that attack.

Shia make up some ten to 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population.