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Bomber planning to attack Mecca’s Grand Mosque blows himself up

Saudi security forces work at a scene after a suicide bomber blew himself up in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 23, 2017. Picture taken June 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Saudi News Agency/Handout via Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) Saudi security forces foiled a suicide attack on the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, cornering the would-be attacker in an apartment, where he blew himself up, the Interior Ministry said.

In a statement read on state television on Friday (June 23), the ministry said that three cells had planned the attack on worshippers and security forces at the mosque as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan nears its climax.

The trapped would-be suicide bomber exchanged fire with the security forces, then set off explosives when he was surrounded in a house in the central Mecca neighborhood of Ajyad al-Masafi near the mosque, the ministry said. The home had been used as the base for the attack.

The building collapsed, injuring six foreigners and five members of the security forces.

Earlier in the day, security forces had shot dead a wanted man at another suspected Islamist militant hideout in Mecca’s al-Aseelah neighborhood. The ministry also said a third cell had been broken up in the Red Sea city of Jeddah but gave no further details.

Five suspected militants, including a woman, were arrested, it said.

The month of fasting ends with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, expected to be on Sunday. Saudi monarchs usually spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in Mecca.

Al Arabiya broadcast live footage of Muslim worshippers praying in the mosque, with no interruption.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the plot to attack the mosque, but the Islamic State group, which wants to establish a theocratic caliphate ruled according to strict Islamic law, had in the past carried out attacks in the kingdom.

In May last year, Saudi security forces shot dead two alleged Islamic State fighters outside Mecca, and two others blew themselves up outside Mecca.

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Reuters

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  • Oh no! I see a SBC guy walking toward my house. He looks like he’s got a bomb strapped to him under his polyester blazer. Oh NOooooo! What am I going to do? Oh wait. That’s not a bomb; it’s just 20 years of potluck dinners under that blazer.
    (several minutes later)
    “Hi! I’m Brother Paul, pastor of First Baptist Church here. I’d like to give you a personal invitation to visit our church.”
    “Thanks, but what’s in it for me?”
    “Lot’s of love. And a chance to find Christ as your Lord and Savior.”
    “So what are you selling today? You looking for a donation or something?”
    “Nope. Just giving folks here an invitation.”
    “What’s that bulge under your blazer?”
    “Oh that. That bulge is 20 years of some of the best pot luck dinners you ever have eaten. SBC’s are famous for them you know. At our church you first get fed the word and then you get fed the fried chicken. You come visit us, you hear.”

  • …and potato salad… deviled eggs…baked beans and home made desserts…and lots of sweet tea.

  • It is neither satisfying, encouraging, or a cause for relief to note that such insane acts are not limited to targets in the West. Plainly, these individuals are driven by a hatred of everything that lives and moves and has its being, including themselves.

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