Makkah, June 24: Saudi Arabia Interior Ministry Saturday said that the country’s security establishment has disrupted a vicious plot to attack the Grand Mosque at Makkah- the holiest site in Islam.
Quoting Saudi Arabia Interior Ministry, the Pakistan based news Daily ‘Dawn’ reported that Saudi Government launched raids in Jeddah as well as two areas in Makkah itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighbourhood, located near the Grand Mosque.
There, police said they engaged in a shootout at a three-story house with a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and led to the building’s 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, it said.
Saudi state television aired footage after the raid near the Grand Mosque, showing police and rescue personnel running through the neighbourhood’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.
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.”
“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 Grand Mosque has been the target of militants before. In 1979, a group of terrorists seized the mosque, home to the Kaabah, for two weeks as they demanded the royal family abdicate the throne.
The official toll of the assault and subsequent fighting to retake the mosque from hundreds of armed terrorists was over 100 people killed and 500 wounded. CNS