Dozens arrested in Saudi clampdown on Prophet's Mosque-linked 'terror-cell'

Dozens arrested in Saudi clampdown on Prophet's Mosque-linked 'terror-cell'
2 min read
30 April, 2017
Saudi authorities have arrested 46 people suspected of involvement in a suicide bomb attack in the holy city of Medina last year that left four security personnel dead
The July 2016 attack took place during the holy month of Ramadan [AFP]

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that it had arrested 46 suspected members of a terror cell for involvement in a suicide bomb attack targeting the Prophet's Mosque, one of the two holiest sites in Islam last year. 

In July 2016 four security personnel were killed when a suicide bomber self-detonated outside the landmark mosque in an attack widely blamed on the Islamic State group. 

The attack occurred in a car park outside the sprawling mosque complex only a day before the Eid al-Fitr festival which marks the end of the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan, causing outrage.

The dismantled cell included 32 Saudi nationals, in addition to 14 foreigners, according to an Interior Ministry spokesman who spoke to the SPA news agency on Sunday. 

The spokesman said that cell members stormed by security forces had provided the explosive belt used by the perpetrator of the July 2016 mosque attack, in addition to another attack targeting a hospital in the port city of Jeddah. 

They were arrested in Jeddah, according to Reuters. 

Since 2014, IS has launched a number of attacks in Saudi Arabia. Saudi security forces say they have arrested hundreds of the extremist group’s members. 

Attacks have targeted Saudi security forces, Shia mosques, and even the US consulate in the country.

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called for attacks targeting Saudi Arabia, in part due to the Kingdom's involvement in the US-lead coalition of states targeting IS in Syria and Iraq.