Bomber Planning Mecca Blast Blows Himself Up

Bomber Planning Mecca Blast Blows Himself UpBomber Planning Mecca Blast Blows Himself Up

Saudi security forces on Friday foiled a suicide attack on the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, cornering the would-be attacker in an apartment where he blew himself up, the Interior Ministry said.

In a statement read on state television, the ministry said that three cells had planned the attack on worshippers and security forces at the mosque as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan nears its climax, Reuters reported.

The trapped would-be suicide bomber exchanged fire with the security forces, then set off explosives when he was surrounded in a house in the central Mecca neighborhood of Ajyad al-Masafi near the mosque that had been used as the base for the attack, the ministry said.

The building collapsed, injuring six foreigners and five members of the security forces.

Earlier in the day, security forces had shot dead a wanted man at another suspected militant hideout in Mecca’s al-Aseelah neighborhood. The ministry also said a third cell had been broken up in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, but gave no further details.

Five suspected militants, including a woman, were arrested, it said.

The month of fasting ends with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, expected to be on Sunday. Saudi monarchs usually spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in Mecca.

Al Arabiya broadcast live footage of Muslim worshippers praying in the mosque, with no interruption.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the plot to attack the mosque, but the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which wants to establish a strict theocratic caliphate ruled according to the Saudi Wahhabi laws, had in the past carried out attacks in the kingdom.

In May last year, Saudi security forces shot dead two IS fighters outside Mecca, and two others blew themselves up outside Mecca.

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