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Police thwart terrorist plot at Islam's holiest site

26 Juin 2017

The trapped would-be suicide bomber exchanged fire with the security forces, then set off explosives when he was surrounded in a house in a central Mecca neighborhood, the ministry said. Saudi Arabian authorities believe that the attack was targeted to hit the #Grand Mosque in Mecca, the holy city of Islam.

Five security force members and six other people were injured, the report said.

It said, five people, including one woman, suspected of involvement in the plot were arrested.

Three terrorist cells were reportedly involved in the plot and were going to attack worshipers who had gathered at the mosque to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fasting.

It can be recalled that the country faced an al-Qaida insurgency for years and attacks from a local branch of the Islamic State group.

The Interior Ministry confirmed that this terrorist network meant to violate the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.

The disrupted attack comes at a sensitive time in Saudi Arabia.

The latest incident occurred few days after King Salman reshuffled the core the Saudi leadership, as he replaced the kingdom's powerful interior ministry; former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef.

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The newly appointed 31-year-old crown prince is the architect of Saudi Arabia's stalemated war in Yemen against Shiite rebels. Salman has in the past made comments about Saudi Arabia confronting its rival Iran.

As the Interior Ministry announced the raid, over 1 million Muslim faithful prayed at the Prophet's Mosque in Medina to mark the end of Ramadan.

The statement emphasized Morocco's unwavering support for Saudi Arabia in its efforts to defend and protect its citizens, as well as the many visitors to all the Holy Places of Islam, from this sort of barbarism.

Saudi policemen stand guard at the site where a suicide bomber blew himself up in July 2016 near the U.S. consulate in Jeddah.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah condemned the Friday bombing.

The Qatari foreign ministry expressed "solidarity with the brotherly kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

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