JEDDAH (Agencies): A suspect in a deadly 2015 Islamic State group attack on a Saudi mosque blew himself up while being arrested by security forces in Jeddah this week, Saudi officials said on Friday.
Four others including a Pakistani man were wounded when Saudi national Abdullah bin Zayed al-Bakri al-Shehri set off the explosives belt, the official said.
He was one of nine men wanted for the blast that killed 15 people — mostly police — near the Yemen border.
“When the procedures for his arrest were initiated, he blew himself up with an explosive belt, which resulted in his death and the injury of a resident and three security men,” said a Presidency of State Security statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Al-Shehri, 39, was number four on a list of nine suspects in the 2015 blast, one of Saudi Arabia’s deadliest attacks in years. Number five was arrested in May 2016.
The targeted mosque was frequented by members of a police special weapons and tactics unit in the southern city of Abha.
The attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, followed the launch of a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen in 2015 after Iran-backed Huthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa.
Saudi news agency SPA, Al-Shehri detonated the explosive belt on Wednesday night in Jeddah’s Al Samer neighbourhood, injuring three members of the security forces, who were seeking to arrest him, and a Pakistani national.
The injured, who were not named, were taken to hospital, SPA said, without giving details of their injuries.
Saudi Arabia was the scene of a series of large-scale militant attacks in the 2000s, including on security forces and Western targets.
Such attacks were carried out by Dai’sh, al Qaeda and other groups. Though attacks have since mostly subsided, several people were wounded in a 2020 attack that used an explosive on a World War One remembrance ceremony in Jeddah.
Earlier this year, French prosecutors opened a terrorism investigation into a December 2021 explosion under a French vehicle involved in the Dakar rally sports race in Saudi Arabia.
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