Attack on Mecca's grand mosque thwarted by Saudi security forces

Attack on Mecca's grand mosque thwarted by Saudi security forces
Saudi interior ministry says it has prevented an attack on Mecca's grand mosque by cornering a would-be attacker at an Islamist militant hideout in the holy city.
2 min read
24 June, 2017
Eleven people were injured when the building collapsed after the detonation [Anadolu]
An attempted suicide attack on the Grand Mosque of Mecca was thwarted on Friday, after the would-be attacker blew himself up away from crowds while cornered.

Three terror cells plotted to launch attacks on the Grand Mosque, considered to be Islam's holiest, as the month of Ramadan draws to a close.

Security forces reportedly exchanged fire with the assailant, who detonated the explosives in a house in the central Meccan neighbourhood of Ajyad al-Masafi, the ministry said.

Five members of the security forces and six foreigners were injured when the building collapsed.

According to the ministry, another suspected Islamist militant was shot dead at a hideout in Mecca's al-Aseelah neighbourhood.

A third cell was also reported in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Five suspected militants, including a woman, were arrested there, the ministry said.

The attempted attack on Mecca's Grand Mosque comes at a time when Saudi monarchs traditionally spend time in the holy city for the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Prayers at the mosque, which were broadcast on Saudi Arabia's al-Arabiya network, continued without interruption.

While it was not immediately clear who was behind the plot, the Islamic State group has previously carried out attacks in the kingdom.

Last May, two IS operatives blew themselves up and two others were shot dead by security forces outside Mecca.