Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said that a Pakistani man who came to the kingdom 12 years ago to work as a driver carried out the suicide bombing outside Medina, one of of Islam’s holiest sites.
The suicide bombing yesterday killed four Saudi security troops and wounded five others in a parking lot outside the sprawling mosque grounds where the Prophet Muhammad is buried in Medina. The Prophet’s Mosque is particularly crowded during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a time of charity but has seen spectacular attacks around the region.
An Interior Ministry statement issued on Tuesday identifies the man as 34-year-old Abdullah Qalzar Khan. It says he lived in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah with “his wife and her parents.” The statement didn’t elaborate.
The bombings seem to be a part of a series of attacks in the kingdom as blasts also struck two other Saudi cities yesterday.
The attacks occurred a day before the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, reports the Guardian.
Saudi Arabia has been a target of Islamic State attacks that have killed dozens of people. In June, the Interior Ministry reported 26 terror attacks in the last two years.
IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called for attacks on Saudi Arabia, which is taking part in the US-led coalition bombing the jihadists in Syria and Iraq. The group also considers Shiites to be heretics.
The possibility of coordinated attacks across different cities in Saudi Arabia on the same day underscores the threat the kingdom faces from extremists who view the Saudi monarchy as heretics and enemies of Islam. Saudi Arabia is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.