On June 23, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca after exchenging gunfire with Saudi security servicemen, the interior ministry said on Saturday.
“The Interior Ministry said it launched a raid around Jiddah, as well as two areas in Mecca itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighborhood, located near the Grand Mosque.
There, police said they engaged in a shootout at a three-story house a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and led to the building’s collapse.He was killed while the blast wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces, according to the Interior Ministry’s statement. Five others were arrested, including a woman, it said.
Saudi state television aired footage after the raid Friday near the Grand Mosque, showing police and rescue personnel running through the neighborhood’s narrow streets. The blast demolished the building, its walls crushing a parked car as what appeared to be shrapnel and bullet holes peppered nearby structures,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Interior ministry security spokesman Mansour al-Turki said that police “foiled the terrorist plan that targeted the security of the Grand Mosque, pilgrims and worshippers”.
The ministry didn’t reveal whether the militants belonged to a specific group or what their ultimate target was. However, it described the plot as part of “self-serving schemes managed from abroad”.
“This terrorist network, whose terrorist plan was thwarted, violated, in what they would have perpetrated, all sanctities by targeting the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth,” the interior ministry said. “They obeyed their evil and corrupt self-serving schemes managed from abroad whose aim is to destabilize the security and stability of this blessed country.”
Global condemnations have poured in following the foiled terror attack in Mecca. The UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait and other countries denounced the terrorist polt.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that the attempt to attack the Grand Mosque “showed once again that the uncontrolled and growing terrorism currently gripping the whole world, the region and especially Muslim nations…, knows no religion, geography, ethnicity and nationality.”
Egypt’s Awqaf (Religious Endowments) Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa also condemned the attack. The minister added that Egypt “stands with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in their efforts against terrorism.”
Bahrain released a statement in which it “expressed its sincere appreciation of the great role of Saudi Arabia under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in providing all the comforts and tranquility for worshippers, visitors and pilgrims.”
UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said the event would only increase “our will” to encounter those supportertsof terrorism.
Jordanain Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammed Momani expressed the Jordanian support to Saudi Arabia in its fight against terrorism and condemnted the attempt.
Some experts believe that there is a chance that the event may be a false flag attack. If confirmed, this will contribute to a wider media and diplomatic effort of the Saudi-led block against Qatar. The goal is to further discredit Qatar.
Earlier this week, there were reprts that Saudi Arabia and Egypt consolidated their attitude on foreign policy issues.
“Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Qattan today held a Ramadan breakfast banquet at the Saudi Diplomatic Club for a group of Egyptian reporters.
Ambassador Qattan affirmed that the bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Republic of Egypt are at their best with the support of the two countries’ leaders under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt. The coming period will further deepen and develop these strong relations between the two countries, he added,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.