The Islamic State (IS) group says it was behind a suicide
bombing on a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia that killed at
least 10 people.
The attack in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province is the first to be
claimed by the Saudi branch of IS, which was formally
established last November.
The claim was posted on Twitter with an image of the bomber
by an account that is a reliable source on the group.
IS has previously threatened to attack Shia Muslims in Saudi
Witnesses reported a huge blast at the Imam Ali mosque in
the village of al-Qadeeh, in Qatif governorate during Friday
A doctor at the hospital said at least 10 people had been
killed and about 70 injured, “some very critically”.
Television pictures of the bombing showed shattered glass
and debris inside the mosque, where scores were said to
have been praying.
A spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry said the bomber
detonated a suicide belt inside the mosque, causing a number
of people to be “martyred or wounded”.
“Security authorities will spare no effort in the pursuit of all
those involved in this terrorist crime,” the official said in a
statement carried by state news agency SPA.
Analysis: Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent
It will come as no surprise that the Islamic State group was
behind this calculated attack on peaceful worshippers in a
The Sunni extremists of IS have a special loathing for the Shia
and they will almost certainly have been looking to exacerbate
sectarian tensions between Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority and
the rest of the population.
Shia anger will likely be directed at the Saudi authorities for
failing to protect their community in Eastern Province.
Shias have been concerned for some time at inflammatory
speeches given by hardline Sunnis that depict them as being
‘not real Muslims’, a view shared by IS.
In a statement published online, IS said “the soldiers of the
Caliphate” were behind the attack and pledged “dark days
ahead” for the Shia community. It identified the bomber as
Abu Amer al-Najdi.
In a separate statement, the jihadist group also said it was
behind a similar attack on a Shia mosque in neighbouring
Yemen on Friday, which injured about a dozen people.
The mosque was used by Saudi Arabia’s minority Shia
Dozens of people were injured in the blast and the death toll
is expected to rise
Saudi Arabia has previously been threatened by IS , which is
being targeted by a US-led coalition in Syria and Iraq.
In November last year, an audio recording purported to be
from IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Saudi followers
to attack Shia targets.
More than 2,000 Saudis are believed to have joined IS, with
hundreds having returned home. Saudi Arabia has launched a
security crackdown in recent months, arresting hundreds of IS
Saudi Arabia’s large Shia Muslim minority is mainly based in
the Eastern Province, and there have been sporadic protests
by Shia there for greater rights.
The attack on Friday comes at a time when the Saudis are
leading a coalition of Arab states in an air campaign against
Shia rebels in Yemen.