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Amir condemns Makkah terror plot – Suicide bomber blows himself up

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on June 23, 2017, shows Saudi security forces inspecting the site of a foiled attack in the holy city of Makkah. Six foreign pilgrims were hurt in Saudi Arabia when a suicide bomber targeting Islam’s holiest site of Makkah blew himself up, the Interior Ministry said. (AFP)

KUWAIT CITY, June 24, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent Friday a cable to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to express Kuwait’s strong condemnation of the terrorist scheme against the Grand Mosque of Makkah.

In his cable, His Highness the Amir said that this terrorist plot contradicts teachings of Islam and all religious and human values. His Highness the Amir also voiced Kuwait’s support to all measures taken by the Saudi government to maintain the Kingdom’s security and to counter terrorist plots.

He also reiterated Kuwait’s condemnation of all acts of terrorism and its support to the international efforts to uproot and dry up resources of terrorists. He also lauded Saudi role in combatting terrorism and the vigilance of its security forces which helped derail the terrorist plot Friday. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to the Saudi King.

A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque as police disrupted a plot to target the holiest site in Islam just as the fasting month of Ramadan ends, Saudi security forces said Saturday. The Interior Ministry said it launched a raid around Jeddah, as well as two areas in Makkah itself, including the Ajyad Al- Masafineighborhood, located near the Grand Mosque.

There, police said they engaged in a shootout at a threestory house with a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and caused the building to collapse. He was killed, while the blast wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces, according to the Interior Ministry’s statement. Five others were arrested, including a woman, it said. 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. Nearby structures appeared to be peppered with shrapnel and bullet holes. The Interior Ministry said the thwarted “terrorist plan” would have violated “all sanctities by targeting the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.”

“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,” it said. The ministry did not name the group involved in the attack. The ultraconservative Sunni kingdom battled an al- Qaeda insurgency for years and more recently has faced attacks from a local branch of the Islamic State group. Neither group immediately claimed involvement, though IS 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. The disrupted attack comes at a sensitive time in Saudi Arabia. King Salman earlier this week short-circuited the kingdom’s succession by making his son, Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, first in line to the throne. The newly appointed 31-year-old crown prince is the architect of Saudi Arabia’s stalemated war in Yemen against Shiite rebels. He has also offered aggressive comments about the kingdom confronting Shiite power Iran. Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned the Makkah plot and said it remains willing to work with other countries in confronting terrorism.

As the Interior Ministry announced the raid, over 1 million Muslim faithful prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to mark the end of Ramadan. In July 2016, a suicide bombing there killed four members of Saudi Arabia’s security forces. Millions of Muslims from around the world visit the mosque, the burial site of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), every year as part of their pilgrimage. The same day in July, separate suicide bomb attacks targeted a Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia and near the US Consulate in Jeddah. The Grand Mosque has been the target of militants before, in part because it represents a symbol of the ruling Al Saud family’s clout in the Islamic world.

The Saudi monarch bears the title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” In 1979, some 250 militants seized the mosque and held it for two weeks as they demanded the royal family abdicate the throne. When Saudi troops stormed the mosque, the official death toll was 229, including extremists and soldiers. Britain condemned as “evil” the foiled attack on the Grand Mosque, calling on nations to cooperate on defeating terrorism.

On the attempt, which was announced early on Saturday, British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson said, “terrorism respects no country and no religion. “We all stand together in confronting it and together we will prevail,” he said. The planned attack involved six people, one of whom blew himself up after being surrounded by Saudi security forces. The Kingdom of Bahrain condemned in the strongest terms the vicious terrorist plot that targeted the security of the Grand Mosque in Makkah as well as worshipers, stressing that the despicable act of terrorism is contrary to all religious, moral and humanitarian values.

In a press statement carried by the Bahrain News Agency (BNA), Bahrain expressed its sincere appreciation of the great role of Saudi Arabia under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in providing all the comforts and tranquility for worshippers, visitors and pilgrims. It also lauded the outstanding efforts of the security men in thwarting the cowardly terror plot and affirmed that it stands fully with Saudi Arabia in its leadership role to consolidate and enhance security and peace in the region and across the world.

Bahrain said that it also fully supports all the actions and measures by Saudi Arabia to eliminate terrorist organisations. It reiterated its firm position in rejecting terrorism and stressed the need for closer international cooperation to eliminate the phenomenon that threatens all nations and peoples without discrimination and to rid the world of the serious scourge and all those who support and finance it. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the foiled terrorist plot targeting the holy city of Makkah and the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah.

In a press statement, the OIC Secretary General Yusuf Al-Othaimain lauded Saudi security personnel vigilance which helped derail the vicious terrorist plot to destabilize the Saudi Kingdom. Al-Othaimain expressed, the pan- Muslim organization’s solidarity with the Saudi government and people and its support to all measures they may take to counter the threat of terrorism.

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