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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, June 21, 2018

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Over a dozen killed in Saudi Arabia mosque bombing

Bomber blew himself up in a mosque in Asir region

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A suspected Islamic State-affiliated militant on Thursday blew himself up in a mosque in Asir region of Saudi Arabia's southwestern territory, killing more than a dozen worshippers, according to the state media.

The Hijaz Province, an alleged new affiliate of the Islamic State, owned the responsibility of the bombing that targeted police and special forces.

The Saudi Press Agency, citing officials, said that the bombing killed 15 people.

The state news service said the mosque belonged to a local security force in Asir located within a Special Emergency Force base. The attack took place during the afternoon prayer.

Ten members of the special force were killed in the blast, along with three workers at the site, while nine people were wounded, two of whom later succumbed to their injuries. The incident is being investigated by security authorities, the SPA said.

The blast is the most recent in a series of attacks on mosques in the kingdom. The timing of such blasts has always been intended to maximize casualties.

Most of the attacks have targeted mosques belonging to the Shia minority in Saudi Arabia and have been claimed by the Islamic State, which considers Shia heretics.

An attack outside a Shia mosque in May left four people dead, and in June, a suicide bomber from Saudi Arabia blew himself up in a Shia mosque in neighboring Kuwait, killing 27.

Claiming the responsibility for the latest attack, the Hijaz Province of the Islamic State in a statement said a suicide bomber targeted a "monument of the apostate".

It was the first claim by the new Islamic State branch. Hijaz is a reference to the historic western part of Saudi Arabia that is home to Islam's holiest sites of Makkah and Medina.

The statement was carried on Islamic State-affiliated Twitter accounts and was also reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks militant messages.

While Saudi Arabia promotes a conservative interpretation of Islam similar to that of the Islamic State, clerics in the country have denounced the group as misguided and bloodthirsty.

Saudi Arabia has joined the United States-led coalition that is waging an air campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria.

But the Islamic State movement has found support in some parts of Saudi society. Thousands of Saudis have traveled abroad to join the jihadists.

Leaders of the Islamic State consider Saudi Arabia a heretical state and have called on supporters to carry out attacks inside the kingdom and elsewhere.> BNN

 

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