Medina bombing: Suicide bomber kills at least four in attack on Prophet's Mosque in Saudi Arabia

The mosque is the second-most holy site in Islam

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 04 July 2016 18:24
Comments
Suicide bomber kills at least four in attack on Prophet's Mosque in Saudi Arabia

A suicide bomber has killed at least four people in an attack on the Prophet's Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia, the second most holy site in Islam.

Four members of the Saudi security forces were killed in the explosion near the mosque's security headquarters.

Pictures on social media show dark smoke billowing from flames near the mosque, where the Prophet Mohamed is buried.

The blast is believed to have occurred at sunset, when people were were beginning to break their fast for Ramadan.

Saudi newspaper Okaz reported security officers were preparing to break their fast when they were approached by a young man – who looked to be around 18-years-old – to share food. He then detonated his explosives.

Despite the terror, Saudi state TV showed live video of thousands of worshippers standing defiantly shoulder to shoulder to pray in the sacred mosque just hours after the explosion.

Qari Ziyaad Patel, 36, from Johannesburg, South Africa, was in the mosque when he heard a loud blast just as sunset prayers were ending and people were breaking their fast.

He said many initially believed it was the sound of traditional, celebratory cannon fire but then he felt the ground shake.

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

Muslims believe Prophet Mohamed built the mosque himself shortly after arriving in Medina after fleeing Mecca.

Thousands of Muslims visit his tomb in the final days of Ramadan every year before continuing on their pilgrimmage to Mecca.

The attack was the third suicide attack in less than 24 hours

A suicide bomber blew himself up in the car park of a mosque in the eastern city of Qatif – where most of the country's Shia minority live.

Another suicide attacker struck in Jeddah, on the west coast, in the early hours of Monday morning after detonating a device near the US consulate.

Two security officers were injured as they tackled the man to the ground.

The attacks come on the eve of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far.

The possibility of coordinated, multiple attacks across different cities in Saudi Arabia on the same day underscores the threat the kingdom faces from extremists who view the Western-allied Saudi monarchy as heretics and enemies of Islam.

Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition fighting Isis in Iraq and Syria.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in