The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, yesterday vowed to strike back at those leading the country’s youth astray, a day after three suicide attacks in the Kingdom, one of them near the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
“The kingdom is fully determined to strike with an iron fist all those who aim at the minds or ideas of our dear young people,” King Salman said in an address to the nation for the feast of Eid al-Fitr, published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The Madinah attack, which killed four policemen near Islam’s second-holiest site, 24 hours before the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, has drawn condemnation from Islamic figures worldwide.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack or for two other suicide bombings the same day, outside a mosque in the eastern city of Qatif and near the US consulate in Jeddah in the west of the Kingdom.
The Jeddah bombing killed only the attacker, and reports suggest there were no innocent victims in the Qatif attack either.
Many observers, however, suspect the Islamic State extremist organisation of being behind the bombings. The group, which controls areas of eastern Syria and northern Iraq, has claimed previous attacks on mosques in Qatif and elsewhere in the kingdom.
The group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s car bomb attack on a shopping street in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in which at least 213 people were killed.
Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, who is also the Saudi interior minister, has visited two security officers and a citizen wounded in the bombing in Jeddah, the state news agency SPA reported.
“The security of the homeland is good, it is at its highest levels and thanks be to God it gets stronger every day,” SPA quoted Prince Mohamed as saying during the visit.
“I know that terrorist operations are not a simple thing, and the minor impacts that you feel now will go away, God willing,” Prince Mohamed said, according to SPA.
“I had been through this in the past and feel what you feel,” he added, referring to a suicide bombing he had survived in his office in 2009.
Meanwhile, outrage spread yesterday after the blast in Madinah.
Religious and political leaders across the Muslim world denounced the attack near the Prophet’s Mosque.
The Saudi interior ministry said officers became suspicious of a man heading for the Prophet’s Mosque through a parking lot.
“As they tried to stop him, he blew himself up with an explosive belt causing his death and the death of four police,” the statement said, adding that five others were wounded.
The head of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, the kingdom’s main government advisory body, called the attack an “unprecedented” incident.
“This crime, which causes goosebumps, could not have been perpetrated by someone who had an atom of belief in his heart,” Abdullah al-Sheikh said.
Cairo-based Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, condemned the attacks and stressed “the sanctity of the houses of God, especially the Prophet’s Mosque”.
Saudi Arabia’s supreme council of clerics said the blasts “prove that those renegades have violated everything that is sacred”.
The governments of Turkey and Lebanon joined in the condemnation, while Iraq said the attacks amounted to “heinous crimes”.
The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attacks.
The UN human rights chief yesterday called the Madinah suicide bombing an attack on Islam itself and many Muslims expressed shock that their second-holiest site had been targeted.
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