Vastavam web: A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque at Mecca as police disrupted a plot to target the holiest site in Islam just as the fasting month of Ramadan ends, Saudi security forces said today.The Interior Ministry said it launched a raid around Jiddah, as well as two areas in Mecca itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighborhood, located near the Grand Mosque.Saudi state television aired footage after the raid Friday near the Grand Mosque, showing police and rescue personnel running through the neighborhood’s narrow streets.The blast demolished the building, its walls crushing a parked car as what appeared to be shrapnel and bullet holes peppered nearby structures.
“They obeyed their evil and corrupt self-serving schemes managed from abroad whose aim is to destabilize the security and stability of this blessed country,” the statement said.The ministry did not name the group involved in the attack. The ultraconservative Sunni kingdom battled an al- Qaida insurgency for years and more recently has faced attacks from a local branch of the Islamic State group. Neither group immediately claimed those arrested, though Islamic State sympathizers online have urged more attacks as an offensive in Iraq slowly squeezes the extremists out of Mosul and their de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria comes under daily bombing from a US-led coalition.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have cut diplomatic ties to neighboring Qatar and are trying to isolate the energy-rich tiny country over its alleged support of militants and ties to Iran. Qatar long has denied those allegations.Millions of Muslims from around the world visit the mosque, the burial site of the Prophet Muhammad, every year as part of their pilgrimage to Mecca. The same day in July, separate suicide bomb attacks targeted a Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia and near the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah.