A suicide bomber blew himself up near the United States consulate in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Monday. The attack happened on the morning of 4th of July, the day Americans celebrate their independence.
The attacker parked his car outside a hospital opposite the consulate at about 2.15 am and detonated his device after being approached by two security men, killing him and lightly wounding them, State TV said quoting a security spokesman.
Three further blasts rocked the location of the bombing hours later, a witness told Reuters, as police carried out what appeared to be controlled explosions near the site.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said it was aware of reports of a blast in Jeddah and was seeking more information from the Saudi government. He added that all staff at the consulate were accounted for.
Reports said two security officers were hurt “as a result of the failed bombing”. The area was said to have been sealed off after the bomber blew up himself.
The incident happened just before the dawn prayers. It’s the holy month of Ramadan and Muslims begin their daily fast just after the prayers.
There was no immediate word on who was responsible, but since late 2014 Saudi Arabian security officers and minority Shiites have been hit by deadly violence claimed by the Islamic State group.
In March last year the US embassy closed its main office, as well as consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran, for a few days over unspecified “security concerns”.
In May this year, the interior ministry said four suspected jihadists died — two by blowing themselves up — during a raid in the kingdom’s west.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the IS jihadists which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria, has reputedly called Saudi Arabia’s Sunni rulers “apostate tyrants” and called on Saudis to rise against them.
(With inputs from agencies)