[Police officers are seen inspecting the ruins of a building demolished in Makkah near Grand Mosque after a terrorist blew himself up to avoid arrest (SPA Photo)]
Makkah: Saudi security forces on Friday foiled an imminent terrorist act targeting the security of the Grand Mosque and worshippers in Makkah by a group stationed in three locations of the Holy City, said the Interior Ministry. Six foreign pilgrims are reported to be injured during the operation.
According to news agency AFP, officers arrested five suspects, including a woman, before surrounding the bomber's location around the Grand Mosque in dawn raids on Makkah and the Red Sea city of Jeddah
"Unfortunately one of the suspects started shooting towards security personnel once he noticed their presence in the area, which led to an exchange of fire before he blew himself up," Turki said.
According to the Saudi security spokesman, one of the three sites where the terorrists were holed up was in the province of Jeddah, and the two others were in Makkah.
The first was in the neighborhood of Asilah, and the second in Ajyad Al-Masafi, located within the perimeter of the central area of the Grand Mosque, the spokesman is quoted by Arab News.
The security spokesman said the security operation resulted in the arrest of five suspects of the cell, including a woman, after raiding their positions.
The security authorities are still conducting their investigations, lifting the remaining evidence at the site of the explosion and verifying the identity of the suicide bomber.
The Interior Ministry confirmed that this terrorist network intended to violate the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.
Security authorities confirmed to Arab News that the attacker blew himself up when surrounded by security men. The incident resulted in minor injuries to security men.
Sources also confirmed that before the incident, security men had arrested a wanted criminal at a house in Al-Asilah neighborhood in east Makkah on Friday morning. The criminal led the authorities to the location of the terrorist in Ajyad Al-Masafi neighborhood, behind Al-Safwa Hotel.
In Jeddah, a terrorist was arrested by general intelligence after Special Emergency Forces had prepared to pursue him and approach him. However, he left his home, according to special security forces, and was followed by general intelligence men and arrested at a gas station in south Jeddah. His home was searched, where firearms and live ammunition were found.
A terrorist attack was foiled during the last Ramadan in 2016 when Saudi security forces intercepted a suicide bomber heading towards the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah Munawwarah and stopped them in the mosque parking area. Two security personnel were killed in the operation.