ABU DHABI: Four people were killed when a car exploded near a Shia mosque in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, but authorities said militants failed in their bid to hit the mosque itself.
Security forces became suspicious of a car parked near the mosque which exploded as they walked towards it, killing four people and setting cars beside it on fire, Saudi news agency SPA said. One of those killed is suspected of being the driver.
A witness identified only as Ahmed said he was with his family near the al Anoud Mosque when “a quick explosion” happened.
He did not know the cause of the blast. He said acquaintances at the mosque told him a man was killed along with a bomber when the man tried to prevent him from reaching the building. Another witness said a passer-by was also killed in the blast.
Meanwhile, Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement by Islamic State posted on Twitter named the suicide bomber who carried out the attack as Abu Jandal al Jizrawi, saying he had managed to reach his target despite heightened security.
Earlier, a suicide bombing on May 22 killed 21 worshippers at a Shia mosque in al Qadeeh village in an attack claimed by IS.
Residents circulated pictures of the body of a man believed to be the suicide bomber as well as pictures of large black clouds of smoke billowing over a parking lot outside the mosque.
Social media accounts showed video purporting to show the congregation inside the mosque reacting with shock and alarm to the sound of the explosion ouside the building. Saudi security forces surrounded the area and began investigating the incident.