Four killed in suicide blast outside Masjid-i-Nabavi

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RIYADH: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside Masjid-i-Nabavi or Prophet’s Mosque in the holy city of Medinah Monday night, Saudi owned al-Arabiya television reported. The bomber himself, and at least four security officers were killed in the blast.

Pictures circulating on social media showed dark smoke billowing from flames near the green domed Prophet’s mosque.

Saudi officials remained tight lipped and did not release further details. 

Multiple videos flooding social media however showed charred corpses lying next to the burning husk of a car in the mosque’s car park, as police and ambulance sirens blared.

Al Arabiya said worshipers were unhurt following the attack.

The sprawling mosque where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is buried is visited by millions of Muslims from around the world each year during pilgrimages to Makkah.

Monday is the last night of the holy month of Ramazan in Saudi Arabia, and marks the beginning of Eid-al-Fitr, the biggest festival in the Muslim calendar.

The Madinah blast followed others in Qatif and Jeddah on Monday. 

Multiple blasts ripped two mosques in Qatif city in oil rich east of the country. The mosques used by the Shia community were targeted at the time when residents were preparing to break day long fast. Witnesses said body parts could be seen in the area of the blast.

“Suicide bomber for sure. I can see the body” which was blasted to pieces, said a witness to the attack in the Shia-populated city of Qatif.

A witness Mohammed al-Nimr said the bomber detonated his suicide vest on Monday evening when most residents of the neighbourhood were at home breaking the Ramazan fast.

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. 

The Qatif incident happened just hours after a suicide bomber was killed and two people were wounded in a blast near the U.S. 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 Monday attacks. 

ISIS 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 Shia Muslim minority and security services

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