By Agencies for Khaleej Times – Filed on July 4, 2016 | Last updated on July 4, 2016 at 10.56 pm
A blast occurred on Monday in Saudi Arabia outside one of Islam’s holiest sites, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, a Saudi-owned television channel reported.
Al-Arabiya news channel showed images of fire raging in a parking lot with at least one body nearby.
State-linked Saudi news websites say an explosion has gone off outside one of Islam’s holiest sites in the city of Madinah, the same day that two suicide bombers struck different cities in Saudi Arabia.
Sabq news site reported that the explosion took place Monday evening. Other sites showed images of what appeared to be a fire outside one of the buildings overlooking the Prophet’s Mosque. It was not immediately clear if anyone was killed or wounded.
The sprawling mosque where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is buried is visited by millions of Muslims from around the world each year during pilgrimages to Makkah. The area would have been teeming with pilgrims for prayer during the final days of the holy month of Ramadan, which ends this week.
The Interior Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.
A resident in the eastern Saudi Arabian region of Qatif says a suicide bomber and a car bomb have struck a neighborhood there, but that no injuries were immediately reported.
Mohammed Al Nimr told The Associated Press the bomber detonated his suicide vest Monday evening when most residents of the neighborhood were at home breaking the Ramadan fast.
A suicide bomber carried out an attack early on Monday near a US diplomatic site in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, according to the Interior Ministry.
The ministry said the attacker detonated his suicide vest when security guards approached him near the parking lot of a hospital. The attacker died and two security men were wounded with minor injuries, according to the ministry statement, which was published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Some cars in the parking lot were damaged.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al Turki was quoted in the statement as saying the attacker caught the attention of the security guards, who noticed he was acting suspiciously at an intersection located on the corner of the heavily fortified US Consulate in Jiddah, located by the Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital. Most of the consulate’s staff had reportedly moved offices to a new location.
The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia confirmed there were no casualties or injuries among the consular staff. The embassy said it remains in contact with Saudi authorities as they investigate the attack.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for attack.
The Interior Ministry did not specify if it there are indications the bomber intended to target the US diplomatic compound, saying an investigation was underway to determine his identity.
More recently, Saudi Arabia has been a target of Daesh attacks that have killed dozens of people. The extremist group views the Western-allied Saudi monarchy and government as heretics. Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
In June, the Interior Ministry reported 26 terror attacks had taken place in the kingdom in the last two years. Local affiliates of the Daesh group have targeted minority Shias and security officials.
Monday’s attack comes just days before the end of the holy month of Ramadan, during which observant Muslims fast daily from dawn to dusk.
The US Embassy regularly issues advisory messages for US citizens in Saudi Arabia. In a message issued Sunday and another one issued after the attack Monday, the embassy urged Americans to “remain aware of their surroundings, and take extra precautions when travelling throughout the country.” It also advised citizens to “carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia.”
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