2016 Saudi Arabia bombings

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2016 Saudi Arabia bombings
Part of Terrorism in Saudi Arabia
LocationMedina, Jeddah and Qatif
Date4 July 2016
Attack type
Car bombing, suicide bombing
Deaths4 (+4 perpetrators)
Non-fatal injuries
7

On 4 July 2016, four suicide bombs exploded in three locations in Saudi Arabia. One of them exploded in the parking lot of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi,[1][2] killing at least four people.[3] The second and third suicide bombers targeted a Shia mosque in Qatif, but they failed to harm anyone but themselves.[4] A fourth militant blew himself up after police tried to arrest him near the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. Two Saudi Arabian police officers were injured.[5]

Background[edit]

The Saudi Arabian attacks were the fourth attempt at mass killing of civilians by suspected ISIS-affiliated militants during Ramadan 2016, following the 28 June attack in Istanbul, Turkey, the 1 July attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the 3 July bombings in Baghdad, Iraq.[6]

In 2015, Saudi Arabia was hit by a number of attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Attacks included the Qatif and Dammam mosque bombings on 22 and 29 May 2015, in which 26 were killed and 106 injured, and the 2015 Abha mosque bombing on 6 August 2015, killing 15.

Attacks[edit]

According to a press release by the Saudi Press Agency, the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, "Security spokesman of the Interior Ministry said in a statement that before the prayers of Maghrib in Madinah on Monday 09/29/1437 AH, security men suspected a person while he was heading to the Prophet's Mosque through a vacant lot of land used as a parking space for visitors' cars. When they intercepted him, he blew himself by an explosive belt, which resulted in his death, the deaths of four security men, and the injury of five other security men. On the evening of the same day at a mosques near Mias market in Qatif, a suicide bombing occurred. Human remains of three people were found and are currently in the process of being identified. Security agencies are still investigating the two crimes."[7]

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi attack[edit]

The bomb that exploded in the parking lot of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi reportedly killed four security officers and injured five others.[1][2][8] Taie bin Salem bin Yaslam al-Saya'ari, a Saudi citizen who lived and studied in New Zealand between 2008 and 2013 is thought to have planned the attack. He was killed by Saudi security forces in January 2017.[9]

Responsibility[edit]

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but the Islamic State is strongly suspected.[10]

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry claimed that a man named Abdullah Gulzar Khan carried out the bombing near the US Consulate located in Jeddah. According to the ministry, Khan had been living in the Red Sea city of Jeddah for 12 years working as an immigrant driver. He was living along with his family and parents in Jeddah.[11] The ministry arrested 19 people, including 12 Saudi nationals, following the attacks. A 26-year-old Saudi man, Naer Moslem Hammad Al Balawi, who had a "history of drug use", was identified as the perpetrator of the Medina attack.[12]

Reactions[edit]

States[edit]

  •  Egypt – Foreign Ministry says the reported attack during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan near one of Islam's most sacred places confirms that terrorism "knows no religion or belief or any meaning of humanity".[13]
  •  Pakistan - Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and called for an international anti-terror response, telling reporters that "The government and people of Pakistan are deeply shocked and saddened over the terrorist attacks in holy land and share the pain and grief of their Saudi brethren".[14]
  •  UAE – A Foreign Ministry official in the UAE was quoted in the state-run WAM news agency as saying the stability of Saudi Arabia "is the main pillar of the stability of the United Arab Emirates and the whole of the Gulf Arab region".[13]
  •  Indonesia – Indonesian President Joko Widodo condemned the terrorist attack, saying they violated religious and human values.[15]

International organizations[edit]

  • Organisation of Islamic Cooperation The secretary general of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia, says the attacks are an attempt to destabilize the kingdom. Iyad bin Amin Madani says the kingdom's security is "the cornerstone of security and stability in the region and the Islamic world".[13]

Others[edit]

The apparent attempt to target the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque) in Medina, the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad and considered the second holiest site in Islam, brought condemnation from both Sunni and Shia religious leaders worldwide, and even other extremist groups such as Hezbollah and the Taliban. Medina was one of the Prophet Muhammad's favorite places, and "harming the people of Medina" is explicitly forbidden under Islamic law. This was the first suicide bombing ever to have taken place in Medina. Furthermore, the Prophet's Mosque is non-denominational by definition, as its foundation predates the schism between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. An attempted attack against this target, especially taking place just before Eid al-Fitr, was thus seen by commentators to be "an attack against all Muslims".[16][17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Medina blast: Saudi city 'hit by suicide bomber' – BBC News". Retrieved 2016-07-04.
  2. ^ a b "The Latest: Explosion near one of Islam's holiest sites". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
  3. ^ CNN, Merieme Arif, Laura Koran and Essam al-Ghalib. "4 killed in suicide attack in Saudi Arabia". CNN.
  4. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Bombings target Medina and Qatif mosques".
  5. ^ "Blast outside US consulate service in Saudi Arabia as police stop suicide bomber – reports". rt.com. Russia Today. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  6. ^ Hassan, Falih; Arango, Tim (3 July 2016). "Bombing Kills More Than 120 in Baghdad". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Security Spokesman of Interior Ministry: Two Suicide Bombings in Madinah, Qatif". Saudi Press Agency. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  8. ^ CNN, Merieme Arif, Laura Koran and Essam al-Ghalib. "4 killed in suicide attack in Saudi Arabia". CNN.
  9. ^ "'He changed - became more isolated' - former New Zealand student allegedly inspired by death of friend to plan mosque attack". NZ Herald. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  10. ^ "Suicide bomber strikes near Prophet's Mosque in holy Saudi city of Medina". rt.com. Russia Today. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Pakistani man blamed for suicide attack in Jeddah".
  12. ^ Jeddah. "Saudi names Qatif, Madinah bombers; suspects arrested - Khaleej Times". khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  13. ^ a b c "The Latest: 4 killed, 5 wounded in Saudi attack". Associated Press.
  14. ^ "Pakistan strongly condemns terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan. 4 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Presiden Jokowi Kutuk Bom Dekat Masjid Nabawi". Tribunnews. 5 July 2016.
  16. ^ Medina attack: Muslim world reacts after deadly blast. Al Jazeera, 6 July 2016
  17. ^ Profound sadness: Kabul, Afghan Taliban condemn Madina attack. The Express Tribune, 5 July 2016