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Multiple explosions hit Saudi Arabian cities of Qatif, Medina and Jeddah

Multiple explosions hit Saudi Arabian cities of Qatif, Medina and Jeddah

Four security guards killed at Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in third attack to hit kingdom in one day

JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) — At least four security guards were killed and five others wounded in the blast outside the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia on Monday.

The bombing at the Prophet’s Mosque in the city of Medina was the third attack on Monday, following blasts in the cities of Jeddah and Qatif.

“Four security guards were martyred and five others wounded as a result of their opposition to the suicide attacker who detonated explosives near them as he was on his way to the mosque,” the ministry said on Twitter.

The blasts in Saudi Arabia followed a bloody week in which terrorist attacks caused mass casualties in biggest cities of three Muslim countries: Turkey, Iraq and Bangladesh.

The blast struck moments before sunset prayers when people were breaking their fast inside the mosque in Madinah near the Prophet’s mosque, the Al-Haram Al-Nabawi, regarded as one of Islam’s holiest sites.

The mosque, which is also known as Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, is visited by pilgrims from around the world during the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan. Two million visitors have so far arrived at Al-Haram Al-Nabawi during Ramadan. Al Arabiya reported that the visitors were undeterred by explosions and later headed to perform the Isha prayers, which take place soon after the inital fast-breaking prayer.

Saudi Arabia says a Pakistani man who came to the kingdom 12 years ago to work as a driver carried out the suicide bombing outside of one of Islam’s holiest sites. An Interior Ministry statement issued on Tuesday identifies the man as 34-year-old Abdullah Qalzar Khan. It says he lived in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah with “his wife and her parents.”

In Shia-dominated Qatif, on the Gulf coast, residents said a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque frequented by the minority community. The blast appeared to target a Shia mosque. The attacker was killed but no other casualties were reported.

Earlier during the day, another suicide bomber detonated his explosives earlier near the US consulate in the city of Jeddah, injuring two security officers.

Smoke rises from Al-Masjid an-Nabaw in Medina, Saudi Arabia on July 5. Photo via Twitter

Smoke rises from Al-Masjid an-Nabaw in Medina, Saudi Arabia on July 5. Photo via Twitter

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 defence forces were cleaning up the area and police were investigating, the resident said.

The incidents occurred shortly before the beginning of the Eid holiday, which follows the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

It was the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Jeddah attack.

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