UAE condemns "terrorist crime" targeting Grand Mosque in Makkah

It said a terrorist attack had been planned against Mecca's Grand Mosque, where Muslims from around the world have converged for the conclusion of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The suicide bomber, who was hiding in a house in the Ajyad neighborhood, opened fire on security forces refusing to comply with calls to turn himself in.

The explosion also caused the apartment building to collapse, leaving six foreigners and five members of the Saudi security forces injured. Five people were arrested, including a woman.

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.

Al Arabiya broadcast live footage of Muslim worshippers praying in the mosque, with no interruption.

Iran yesterday condemned the suicide bombing and offered Saudi Arabia its assistance in tackling terrorism despite their severed ties.

The Interior Ministry did not say whether the militants belonged to a specific group or what their ultimate target was.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas Saturday condemned the foiled Friday terrorist attack on Makkah's Grand Mosque, the holiest site in Islam, in Saudi Arabia.

Tunisia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was categorically opposed to any form of terrorism and radicalism and expressed its solidarity with Saudi Arabia. After the incident, Saudi Arabia's security forces conducted operations in Mecca.

The interior ministry "confirms that this terrorist network, whose terrorist plan was thwarted, violated, in what they would have perpetrated, all sanctities by targeting the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth".

Saudi Arabia and its allies severed all ties with Qatar earlier this month accusing it of supporting "terrorist groups" in the region, a charge Doha denies.

But ISIS has harshly criticised Saudi Arabia and carried out a number of deadly attacks in the kingdom in recent years.

The attempted attack came just in time for the Eid-al-Fitr holiday on Sunday.

  • Leroy Wright