Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers

Mohammed Hassan Ali bin Isa and Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash were killed

Lizzie Dearden
Friday 29 May 2015 16:21 BST
They were named as Mohammed Hassan Ali bin Isa and Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash, although it was not possible to verify the spelling
They were named as Mohammed Hassan Ali bin Isa and Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash, although it was not possible to verify the spelling (Twitter)

Two young men who reportedly stopped an Isis suicide bomber entering a mosque in Saudi Arabia are being hailed as heroes after being killed when he blew himself up.

The friends, named as Mohammed Hassan Ali bin Isa and Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash, died after reportedly turning the attacker away from the Imam Hussein mosque in Dammam today.

Eyewitnesses claim the man was disguised as a woman and tried to enter through a closed female entrance before going to the main gate, where the pair were manning a civilian checkpoint.

“They saved a lot of lives by stopping the bomber from getting inside the mosque,” a local man, who asked to remain anonymous, told Middle East Eye. “They are both heroes.”

Mohammed Idris, an eyewitness, told the Associated Press that Mohammed and Abdul-Jalil chased the bomber away and died when he detonated the explosives in the mosque car park.

Abdul-Jalil was reportedly 25 and had recently returned from studying at university in the US, getting married just days ago.

One of the men’s mothers, Kowther al-Arbash, is a high-profile writer for Saudi newspaper al-Jazira, Middle East Eye reported.

Photos of the pair were circulating on social media today, with people calling them heroes and “martyrs”.

Videos also emerged claiming to show the fathers of both men praising their sons' heroism.

A video from inside the al-Anoud mosque showed the moment the explosion was heard outside, with prayers being interrupted by a huge blast that shook the building, causing people to jump to their feet and shout in the ensuing panic.

Security had been stepped up at mosques across Saudi Arabia after a similar Isis bombing that killed 21 people at a mosque in Qatif on 22 May.

Saudi religious authorities had asked women them to keep away from mosques during Friday prayers because of fears of a repeat attack and the lack of female security staff able to search them.

The advice possibly led to the closure of the entrance that the bomber initially tried to use in Dammam.

The Saudi Press Agency claimed that government “security authorities” were responsible for foiling the terrorist attack.

Isis claimed responsibility on a Facebook page used by its followers, naming the bomber as Abu Jandal al-Jazrawi and calling him a “soldier of the caliphate”.

The Sunni extremist group has repeatedly called for attacks Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia, which is part of the US-led coalition conducting air strikes against the group in Syria and is providing training to fighters battling the extremists.

Additional reporting by agencies

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