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Suicide bomber targets Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia

Several Shia mosques have been targeted by militants in the kingdom [AFP]

Date of publication: 4 July, 2016

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A militant targeted a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia's eastern province on Monday, but no casualties were reported.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt in a mosque car park in Saudi’s eastern province, where the kingdom’s majority Shia population are located.

The militant detonated the bomb outside the mosque after being refused entry, witnesses said.

No casualties were reported in the attack that has yet to be claimed by a group.

"Suicide bomber for sure. I can see the body" which was blasted to pieces, said a witness to the attack in the Shia-populated city of Qatif.

In January, two gunmen wearing suicide bomb belts attacked a Shia mosque during Friday prayers, killing at least two people and wounding seven.

The attack hit the Imam Redha Mosque in the Mehasin neighbourhood, an area popular with Shia workers of state-run Aramco, the world's largest oil-producing firm.

One attacker detonated his explosive, while the other opened fire, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The second attacker was stopped from blowing himself up, the statement added.

Images shared on social media showed wounded people lying on the mosque's floor.

The casualties were caused by gunfire, but it was people inside the mosque who were able to stop the attacker from detonating a suicide explosives belt, Nimr added.

In the attack's chaotic aftermath, Saudi police fired assault rifles into the air to drive away an angry mob that surrounded a police car holding the suspected attacker, according to video shot from the scene.

Shias in Saudi Arabia make up some 10 to 15 percent of the ultra-conservative, Sunni-ruled kingdom's population.

The minority group, many of whom live in the country's oil-producing east, were previously targeted in attacks by the Islamic State group, which views Shias as heretics. 

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