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Suicide bombers strike 3 cities in Saudi Arabia, kill 4

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Suicide bombers struck three urban areas across Saudi Arabia on Monday, killing no less than four security officers in an apparently co-ordinated campaign of attacks as Saudis prepared to break their fast on the penultimate day of the holy month of Ramadan.

The blasts targeting on US diplomats, Shiite worshipers and a security headquarters at a mosque in the holy city of Medina follow days of mass killings claimed by Islamic State (IS) in Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq.

A Saudi security official said an attacker parked a car near the US consulate in Jeddah before detonating the device.

The official said the Government was checking the reports of blasts in Qatif and Medina.

In the only one of the three attacks that appeared to have caused mass casualties, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, the second-holiest site in Islam.

“Security forces suspected a man who was heading towards Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque) as he passed through a visitors parking lot,” an interior ministry statement said.

“As they tried to stop him, he blew himself up with an explosive belt causing his death, and the death of four security personnel.”

The interior ministry said five others were injured. Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television said the Medina blast involved three suicide bombers.

Videos of the aftermath of the Medina bombing showed a large blaze among parked cars in the fading evening light, with a sound of sirens in the background.

Images circulating on social media showed dark smoke billowing from flames near the Mosque of the Prophet, originally built in the 7th century by the Prophet Mohammed, who is buried there along with his first two successors.

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In Qatif, an eastern city that is home to many members of the Shi’ite minority, at least one and possibly two explosions struck near a Shi’ite mosque.

Witnesses described body parts, apparently of a suicide bomber, in the aftermath.

The Jeddah blast was the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Islamic State has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi’ite Muslim minority and security services.

Reuters

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5 dead as gunman attacks churchgoers in Russia

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At least five people were killed and another five were injured when a gunman attacked a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

CCTV footage from the site of the deadly shooting shows a man armed with a rifle gunning down two women in broad daylight.

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A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage pants was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon. A woman walking several meters from the attacker was seen rushing away as the bloodshed unfolded.

The attacker was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

Agencies

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