Suicide Bombings Across Saudi Arabia Continue Deadly Week of Terror

Tim Stelloh
Suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia cap deadly week of terror

Suicide bombs rocked two Saudi Arabian cities on Monday, killing at least four security officers, wounding five other people — and coming just hours after authorities in a third city stopped a bomber just feet from the U.S. Consulate.

The explosions capped a week of bloodshed across the region, with Baghdad experiencing what is believed to be its worst attack in a decade and Bangladesh witnessing a gruesome standoff that left 20 hostages dead, many of them foreigners.

In Saudi Arabia, the attacks began Sunday night, when a suicide bomber was stopped by security personnel in a hospital parking lot about 30 feet from the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah.

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The bomber detonated an explosive belt, killing himself and "slightly" injuring two officers, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement. No Americans were hurt and all State Department personnel were accounted for.

Hours later, on the other side of the country, a pair of suicide bombers attacked the Persian Gulf city of Qatif, a Ministry of Interior source confirmed to NBC News. Details of casualties in the largely minority Shi'ite city were not immediately available.

Saudi policemen stand guard at the site where a suicide bomber blew himself up in the early hours of July 4, 2016 near the American consulate in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

Shortly after that, four security officers were killed — as well as a suicide bomber — near the security headquarters of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, a site considered to be the second holiest in Islam.

The attack occurred in a parking lot outside the mosque, during Maghreb prayers, when the bomber pretended to break the Ramadan fast with a group of security personnel, al Arabiya reported.

No one had claimed responsibility for the string of bombings, but since 2014, ISIS has stepped up its attacks in the Saudi kingdom, with bombings and shootings that have killed scores of security officials and Shi'ites.

Officials in Iraq and elsewhere have attributed the recent wave of suicide bombings linked to ISIS as a reaction to its own battlefield losses.

Smoke billowing from the US consulate in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah 06 December 2004, Gunmen stormed the US consulate in Jeddah today, killing four guardsmen and seizing local staff in a hail of gunfire in the latest attack against foreigners in the oil-rich kingdom.
Bomber killed, two policemen wounded in blast outside US consulate in Jeddah

That counterattack appeared to stretch a bit further on Monday, as Malaysian authorities announced the country's first ISIS attack, the Associated Press reported.

That grenade blast at a bar last week killed eight and was carried out by two men instructed by a Malaysian man fighting with ISIS in Syria, according to the AP.

The bar, which was playing a soccer match at the time of the explosion, was described as un-Islamic by the militants.