Deadly suicide blast hits Saudi mosque in Najran region
RIYADH – At least three people were killed and 19 others were wounded Monday after a suicide bomber targeted worshipers who were exiting a mosque after finishing their prayers in the Saudi city of Najran, close to the Yemeni frontier, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Initial reports said the attacker targeted the worshipers inside al-Mashhad mosque in the southwestern city but the Saudi interior ministry said the incident took place at the courtyard of the mosque.
Further information about the perpetrators behind the deadly incident was not given.
The interior ministry confirmed a blast had occurred but had no immediate details.
"A person went to the mosque and did an explosion," a spokesman said.
A television report did not specify whether the mosque belonged to the kingdom's Sunni majority or the Shiite minority.
But roughly half of Najran's population belongs to the Ismaili Shiite community.
Most of Saudi Arabia's Shiites live in Eastern Province, where they have been targeted four times in the past year by bombings and shootings linked to the Islamic State group of Sunni extremists, who consider them heretics.
The latest attack in the east occurred on October 16 when a gunman fired on Shiites commemorating Ashura in the Qatif area.
Ashura is one of the holiest occasions for the Shiite faith.
The gunman was shot dead by police.
In June, four Shiites died preventing a suicide bomber from entering the hall of Al-Anoud mosque in Dammam city.
Days earlier, 21 people were killed in another Shiite mosque bombing in Eastern Province.
Groups claiming affiliation with ISIS said they carried out the earlier bombings and the Ashura shooting.
During Ashura last year, gunmen killed seven Shiite worshippers, including children, in the eastern town of Al-Dalwa.