Suicide bomber strikes Shia mosque in Saudi


At least 10 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

An emergency doctor at Qatif Central Hospital said at least 70 had been injured, “some very critically”.

Witnesses reported a huge blast at the Imam Ali mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh, in Qatif governorate.

It is the first such incident in Saudi Arabia amid rising tension in the wider region between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The mosque was used by Saudi Arabia's minority Shia Muslim population

The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind a similar attack on a Shia mosque in neighbouring Yemen on Friday, which injured about a dozen people.

But it said nothing about the bombing in eastern Saudi Arabia and no other group has said it was behind the attack.

Television pictures of the Saudi bombing showed shattered glass and debris inside the mosque, where scores were said to have been praying.

Qatif hospital has issued an urgent call for blood donations and called in off-duty staff to cope with the high number of casualties.

A spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry said the bomber detonated a suicide belt inside the mosque, causing a number of people to be “martyred or wounded”.

“Security authorities will spare no effort in the pursuit of all those involved in this terrorist crime,” the official said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Dozens of people were injured in the blast and the death toll is expected to rise
Saudi Arabia’s large Shia Muslim minority is mainly based in the Eastern Province, and there have been sporadic protests by Shia there for greater rights.

The attack on Friday comes at a time when the Saudis are leading a coalition of Arab states in an air campaign against Shia rebels in Yemen.

Injured in ambulsnce

Saudi Arabia has previously been threatened by IS, which is being targeted by a US-led coalition in Syria and Iraq.

In November last year, an audio recording purported to be from IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Saudi followers to attack Shia targets.

More than 2,000 Saudis are believed to have joined IS, with hundreds having returned home.

Saudi Arabia has launched a security crackdown in recent months, arresting hundreds of IS suspects.

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