Saudi Arabia foils major terrorist attack in Qatif

  • Three terrorists, riding a stolen car, shot dead in Saihat city

RIYADH – Security forces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this week prevented a major terrorist plot in the city of Saihat in the Qatif governorate, the Saudi Ministry of Interior has announced in a press release yesterday.

According to the statement, security services intercepted a stolen Toyota Corolla vehicle in a busy, built-up district of the eastern city on the evening of Friday, July 14th. As the vehicle was surrounded by security services, three men in the car produced guns and started firing at both the officers and crowds of civilians near the scene, the Emirates247 reported.

Saudi security services were able to shoot the three terrorists dead before they were able to cause any injury to either officers or pedestrians. Inside the stolen vehicle, officers found a number of weapons, including three machine guns, a pistol, live ammunition and over ten kilograms of explosives.

During investigation to establish the identity of the criminals, it was discovered that they were part of a known terrorist cell and wanted for a number of serious crimes over the past few years, including the murder of ten security officers.

“It is very clear that these men were intent on causing a major terrorist incident which would have resulted in the death of many innocent citizens,” said an interior ministry spokesman.

Hajj 2017: First flight to set off for Madina on July 24

The incident happened ahead of the annual pilgrimage – Hajj – that brings millions of people to the country.

The Grand Mosque, or the Masjid al-Haram, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam’s holiest site, the Kaaba.

Last month, Saudi security forces prevented an imminent attack on the Grand Mosque in Makkah when a suspect in the planned attack on the mosque blew himself up in a nearby neighbourhood. Security forces surrounded the home where the man was hiding, according to the interior ministry.

The explosion caused the partial collapse of the building in which the suspect was hiding. Six expatriates were injured and taken to a hospital, and five security personnel received minor injuries.

Five people, including one woman, suspected of involvement in the plot were arrested. Three groups, two based in Makkah and one in Jeddah, planned the attack, according to the ministry.