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Foiled Saudi security base attack claimed by IS

The Islamic State's so-called caliphate was destroyed last month [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 April, 2019

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The Islamic State group, in a statement carried by its propaganda arm Amaq, said the attack on Saudi security services base northwest of Riyadh was carried out by its militants.
The Islamic State group on Monday claimed this weekend's attack on a Saudi security services base, which left four men dead.

The militant group said "the attack on the security services base in the town of Zulfi northwest of Riyadh was carried out by Islamic State group fighters", without providing further details.

Quoting a spokesman for the state security services, the Saudi Press Agency said three policemen were also wounded in the morning attack. 

A "group of terrorists" tried to "storm the building" but security authorities repelled them, killing four, a statement read.

An investigation was launched to identify the assailants as well as the type of "explosive material" they had in their possession, SPA said.

Earlier, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that the attack targeted state security forces in the town of Zulfi, 260 kilometres (160 miles) north of the capital.

It said the attackers had rammed a vehicle into a security barrier around the base in an attempt to gain entry.

Two gunmen then stepped out of the vehicle and opened fire, sparking a gun battle with police, who killed them, the paper reported. 

A third was gunned down as he attempted to flee while a fourth died as he tried to set off an explosive belt, the paper said.

The Saudi-owned satellite channel Al-Arabiya also reported four people died during an attack, but gave no details.

The kingdom has seen numerous attacks in recent years by jihadists, including Al-Qaeda and IS, against security forces.

IS' elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has in recent years called for attacks on Saudi Arabia, which is part of a US-led coalition that has been battling the militants in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

The extremist group has claimed previous attacks in Saudi Arabia, targeting mostly security forces and members of the Shia community who they view as heretics.

On 7 April, two men armed with explosives were killed and two others arrested as they attacked a security checkpoint in a predominantly Shia region in eastern Saudi Arabia, which has seen years of demonstrations demanding equality.

However, Sunday's attack took place in a majority Sunni region.

The IS swept across swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, self-proclaiming a "caliphate" that ruled the region with an iron fist.

The group lost its territorial hold on Iraq in late 2017, with US-backed forces wresting its last bastion in Syria from them last month.

Commanders of the US-led coalition, which provided air and artillery support for the Kurdish-led operation against the group, have warned repeatedly that the jihadists' loss of their last piece of territory did not mean their elimination as a fighting force.

Analysts have said that continuing search and destroy operations by the multiple alliances lined up against IS would be necessary to prevent them mounting a comeback from their desert hideouts.

Suriviving IS members have gone under cover and carried out sporadic hit-and-run attacks, especially in Iraq and Syria.

Last week, Islamic State group jihadists killed 35 pro-Damascus fighters in Syria, in what a monitoring group described as their deadliest operation since the fall of the "caliphate".

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