The holy month of Ramadan ended with three suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia, in a season that has seen the region inundated with terror-related incidents.
The attacks included one in Medina – one of Islam’s holiest sites – and come on the heels of large-scale extremist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Yemen and Iraq, all of which have been tied to the Islamic State. Experts and authorities believe that this surge of violence in Saudi is also the work of the same group, CNN reports.
No one has claimed responsibility for these recent attacks, so far.
Two of the suicide attacks failed, but the third killed four people. All of the incidents appear to have been coordinated, targeting Saudi security forces and Allied interests. The first attack happened before dawn near the US Consulate in Jeddah, where the suicide bomber blew only himself up after detonating an explosive, according to the Saudi Press Agency. Police officers were wounded in the attack.
The Jeddah bomber was identified by the Saudi Interior Ministry as Abdullah Qlazar Khan from Pakistan. He apparently blew himself up with a belt containing explosives. He arrived in Saudi Arabia 12 years ago to work as a driver, and was living in Jeddah with a wife and one of her parents.
In Qatif, eastern Saudi, a second bomber tried to launch an attack at a Shiite mosque, but killed himself as well. No injuries were reported.
The third, in Medina, killed four and injured one person, according to authorities. Medina is where the Prophet Mohammed is buried, making it a sacred site and symbol for Muslims. The bomber’s target were security officials, but the victims remain unidentified.
These recent attacks come close on the devastating violence in the kingdom’s neighboring countries that killed hundreds of civilians in total, and wounding many more – all of which happened during Ramadan, and all of which have either been claimed or linked to ISIS.
Experts say that Saudi Arabia is a big target for the terror group, as they see the Saudi monarchy as a traitor to their cause. Last August, ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that blasted through a mosque that belonged to a special emergency force in southwest Saudi, killing 13 and leaving at least 9 more injured.
The special emergency force of Saudi is composed of quick response security officers who conduct rescues, riot control and other police actions. ISIS claimed that the emergency force played a role in torturing ISIS supporters.
Attacking a Shiite mosque, a US institution and the holy Medina are acts meant to humiliate the kingdom. The Medina attack, especially, is meant to undermine the royal family’s claim as the “protectors of two holy places,” referring to Medina and Mecca.
The suicide attack in Medina, during Ramadan, has seen severe backlash across the world as the hashtag #PrayforMedina has trended, with thousands of Muslims expressing their horror and outrage at the desecration of their second most revered religious site.