The suicide attack in Medina was near the seventh century Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad. Photo / AP
Suicide bombers suspected of links to Isis (Islamic State) struck for
the fourth time in less than a week when they targeted three locations
in Saudi Arabia in an extension of what appeared to be a co-ordinated
campaign of worldwide bombings coinciding with the Muslim holy month of
Initial reports suggested there were relatively few
casualties in the attacks late on Monday and yesterday NZT at a United
States consulate, a mosque frequented by Shia worshippers and a security
centre in one of Islam’s holiest sites, the historic city of Medina.
Security officials told news agencies that two security guards died in the Medina attack.
The attacks nonetheless offered further evidence that in
the three years since it declared the existence of its so-called
caliphate, Isis has developed the capacity to strike at will at the time
of its choosing in diverse locations around the world.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the
bombings bore the hallmarks of Isis, with suicide attackers picking
targets that closely coincide with the group’s declared enemies –
Americans, members of the Shia Muslim minority, and the Saudi security
The militant group, as it has in each of the previous
three years, had urged its followers to carry out attacks during the
holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, abstention and prayer that
concludes today with a holiday of feasting and family visits.
has turned into the most blood-soaked Ramadan yet in Isis’ campaign. At
least 290 people have been killed in attacks claimed by or linked to
Isis at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, a restaurant
frequented by foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and in
The vast majority of them – 222 people – died in the
Baghdad blast, which targeted a shopping street packed with people out
celebrating the end of the day’s fast and shopping for the approaching
Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people at an
Orlando nightclub last month, may also have been inspired by the call
for Ramadan attacks issued by Isis’ chief spokesman, Mohammed al-Adnani,
in late May.
But although Mateen cited Isis as his inspiration in phone
calls to emergency responders, US investigators have found no evidence
he was directly linked to the group.
Isis also did not claim the attack in Istanbul, but Turkish investigators say the group is the leading suspect.
attacks in Saudi Arabia raised concerns that Isis is taking deeper root
there, potentially threatening the stability of one of America’s
closest Arab allies. Isis has frequently threatened the kingdom, whose
status as the guardian of the holiest sites in Islam is challenged by a
group that regards itself as the rightful leader of the Muslim world.
first blast came in the afternoon local time outside the closely
guarded US consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the first of the past
week’s attacks directly to target a US facility. Two security guards
were wounded and the bomber died after security guards approached the
man and he detonated his explosives, according to the state-run Saudi
Hours later, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a
mosque in the majority Shia city of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia. A
resident of the city contacted by Reuters news agency said there
appeared to be no casualties other than the bomber, because worshippers
had already gone home to break their fast.
Isis has in the past year claimed a number of deadly bombings against the Shia minority in Saudi Arabia.
final attack came in Medina, the second holiest site in Islam, which is
visited by millions of Muslim pilgrims every year. It apparently
targeted Saudi security forces stationed near the seventh century Mosque
of the Prophet Muhammad, who is buried there.
Local news media
reported that two security guards died when at least one bomber
detonated explosives near the mosque. There was no immediate comment by
the Government, but a state-owned television station later broadcast
footage of worshippers praying in the mosque, which was apparently
“The rulers of Saudi Arabia have actually helped foster the
creation of Daesh and this whole tendency of extremist ultra-Salafist or
Wahhabist kinds of terrorism. In fact Daesh was created as really a
weapon against the government of Syria and the government of Iraq,” he
The analyst added that the “biggest source of funding” for
the Wahhabist terrorism exemplified by Daesh is in fact Saudi Arabia.
in his remarks, Barrett said attacking the Mosque of the Holy Prophet
in Medina at the end of Ramadan was completely an “anti-Islamic act.”
people who are carrying out these attacks are “psychotic,” he said,
adding that they are reacting to the “breakdown of values” in the modern
world and the Saudi royal family is complicit in it.
royal family is not at the same level as these absolutely nihilistic
and psychotic terrorists who are acting in such completely un-Islamic
ways, yet they have paved the way for this,” he said.
Mouracadeh, a Middle East expert in Beirut, said the Daesh terrorist
group is the enemy of the entire world and all countries should be
worried about the recent bombings.
“I think the whole world has to
worry about it because if you look at the recent blasts from Lebanon to
Istanbul, to Bangladesh, to Indonesia, to Saudi Arabia and those who
were arrested in Kuwait, it is all over the world, so it is not only
Saudi Arabia who has to worry about it,” he stated.
He said Saudi
Arabia is not behind the “creation of Daesh,” adding that it is
“incorrect to say the Saudis are promoting this kind of philosophy.”
added that Daesh as a “geographical entity” was diminishing very
quickly due to its recent losses in Syria and Iraq and its Plan B was to
wreak havoc wherever it could.
Daesh and other violent Takfiri
groups follow an extremist branch of the Wahhabi ideology which is
preached and promoted in Saudi Arabia.