Mohammed Al-Sulami | Arab News
JEDDAH — Twelve security officers and three employees of the Special Emergency Forces Center in Asir were killed, and another seven were injured in a suicide bombing targeting a mosque for emergency forces during Dhuhr prayers.
Security and emergency teams were immediately dispatched to the site to transport those killed and injured in the blast, which is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said the bombing took place in the midst of afternoon prayers at the mosque. Among the seven injured, one person is critical.
Al-Turki said initial findings point to the attack being carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest.
Asir Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khaled visited those injured in the incident at Khamis Mushayt Hospital. He ordered the suspension of many activities of the ongoing Abha festival.
The governor earlier inspected the site of the explosion.
Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh condemned the bombing as an “ugly criminal act,” noting that it would only strengthen national unity against terrorism.
Security forces had announced earlier that they had foiled a bombing attempt by Daesh terrorists at the Emergency Forces Mosque in Riyadh during Ramadan.
The Asir mosque attack is the third assault on a mosque in Saudi Arabia this year.
On May 22, a 20-year-old terrorist blew himself up at the Imam Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque in Al-Qadeeh, Qatif, during Friday prayers, killing 21 people and wounding more than 100.
A week later, on May 29, a terrorist wearing women’s clothing as a disguise detonated the explosive belt he was wearing at the entrance of Al-Anoud Mosque when he was stopped by security officers. The blast killed four people.
In both attacks, the Daesh group claimed responsibility.
While the attack in Asir is still being investigated, a little known Daesh-linked group claimed responsibility. However, Al-Turki, told The Associated Press it was too early to confirm whether Daesh or its supporters were behind the attack and that the police were still investigating.
Last month, the Ministry of Interior announced that 431 suspects linked to the Daesh have been arrested in the Kingdom.
A number of Twitter users have linked the recent string of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia to Operation Decisive Storm, which united the region under the Saudi leadership against Houthi attackers.
Using a special hashtag for the bombing of Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir, tweets suggested every achievement of coalition forces in Yemen is followed by a planned bombing in the Kingdom or other coalition countries, such as Bahrain and Kuwait, as an attempt to ease the burden on Houthi terrorists in Yemen.