4 killed in blasts near Prophet Mohammed's mosque in Medina and Qatif; several injured

Riyadh: At least four people were killed and several others injured in three separate explosions that shook the holy cities of Medina and Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, where many of the kingdom’s Shi’ite Muslim minority live, and witnesses said body parts could be seen in the area of the blast, according to CNN.

Agenceis said that these are very preliminary reports and it is likely that the number of casualties could rise.

A suicide bomber detonated a device near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, the second-holiest site in Islam, according to reports on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.

A witness said one explosion destroyed a car parked near a mosque, followed by another explosion just before 7 p.m. local time. Body parts could be seen and they are believed to be that of an attacker, the witness added.

Photographs purporting to be of the incident published on Twitter showed a severed leg and crowds gathered outside a mosque at dusk. Some posts said the explosion was caused by a suicide attacker setting off a bomb.

Reuters could not immediately verify the images or confirm the information.

The incident happened just hours after a suicide bomber was killed and two people were wounded in a blast near the US consulate in the kingdom’s second city of Jeddah on Monday.

It was the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Jeddah attack.

Islamic State has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi'ite Muslim minority and security services.

State-linked Saudi news websites say an explosion has gone off outside one of Islam’s holiest sites in the city of Medina, the same day that two suicide bombers struck different cities in Saudi Arabia.

A resident in the largely Shiite 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.

Qatif is heavily populated by Shiites, who are a minority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom. Al-Nimr says that near the body of a suicide bomber was a car bomb that also went off around the same time.

More recently, Saudi Arabia has been a target of Islamic State group attacks that have killed dozens of people. The extremist Sunni group views the Western-allied Saudi monarchy and government as heretics. Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Since late 2014 a series of bombings and shootings claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group in Saudi Arabia have targeted minority Shiites as well as members of the security forces.

Most of the attacks have been staged in Eastern Province, home to the majority of Shiites in the Gulf state.

In January, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in the oasis region of Al-Ahsa, killing four people before worshippers disarmed and tied up an accomplice who had fired on them.

Last October in the Qatif area, a gunman fired on faithful marking the Shiite commemoration of Ashura in the Qatif area, killing five before police shot him dead.

Ashura is one of the holiest occasions for the Shiite faith.

In June last year, four Shiites died preventing a suicide bomber from entering the hall of Al-Anoud mosque in Dammam city adjacent to Qatif.

Days earlier, 21 people were killed in another Shiite mosque bombing in Eastern Province.

Groups claiming affiliation with IS said they carried out those blasts and the Ashura shooting.

During Ashura in 2014, gunmen killed seven Shiite worshippers, including children, in the eastern town of Al-Dalwa.

The interior ministry said the suspects had links to IS, which regards Shiites as heretics.

The blast followed others in Qatif and Jeddah on Monday, the last day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Riyadh: At least four people were killed and several others injured in three separate explosions that shook the holy cities of Medina and Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, where many of the kingdom’s Shi’ite Muslim minority live, and witnesses said body parts could be seen in the area of the blast, according to CNN.

Agenceis said that these are very preliminary reports and it is likely that the number of casualties could rise.

A suicide bomber detonated a device near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, the second-holiest site in Islam, according to reports on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.

A witness said one explosion destroyed a car parked near a mosque, followed by another explosion just before 7 p.m. local time. Body parts could be seen and they are believed to be that of an attacker, the witness added.

Photographs purporting to be of the incident published on Twitter showed a severed leg and crowds gathered outside a mosque at dusk. Some posts said the explosion was caused by a suicide attacker setting off a bomb.

Reuters could not immediately verify the images or confirm the information.

The incident happened just hours after a suicide bomber was killed and two people were wounded in a blast near the US consulate in the kingdom’s second city of Jeddah on Monday.

It was the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Jeddah attack.

Islamic State has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi'ite Muslim minority and security services.

State-linked Saudi news websites say an explosion has gone off outside one of Islam’s holiest sites in the city of Medina, the same day that two suicide bombers struck different cities in Saudi Arabia.

A resident in the largely Shiite 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.

Qatif is heavily populated by Shiites, who are a minority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom. Al-Nimr says that near the body of a suicide bomber was a car bomb that also went off around the same time.

More recently, Saudi Arabia has been a target of Islamic State group attacks that have killed dozens of people. The extremist Sunni group views the Western-allied Saudi monarchy and government as heretics. Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Since late 2014 a series of bombings and shootings claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group in Saudi Arabia have targeted minority Shiites as well as members of the security forces.

Most of the attacks have been staged in Eastern Province, home to the majority of Shiites in the Gulf state.

In January, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in the oasis region of Al-Ahsa, killing four people before worshippers disarmed and tied up an accomplice who had fired on them.

Last October in the Qatif area, a gunman fired on faithful marking the Shiite commemoration of Ashura in the Qatif area, killing five before police shot him dead.

Ashura is one of the holiest occasions for the Shiite faith.

In June last year, four Shiites died preventing a suicide bomber from entering the hall of Al-Anoud mosque in Dammam city adjacent to Qatif.

Days earlier, 21 people were killed in another Shiite mosque bombing in Eastern Province.

Groups claiming affiliation with IS said they carried out those blasts and the Ashura shooting.

During Ashura in 2014, gunmen killed seven Shiite worshippers, including children, in the eastern town of Al-Dalwa.

The interior ministry said the suspects had links to IS, which regards Shiites as heretics.

The blast followed others in Qatif and Jeddah on Monday, the last day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.