The Saudi Interior Ministry announced that security forces prevented a suicide attack targeting the Grand Mosque in Mecca on Friday, June 23. According to ministry officials, three terrorist cells were planning to carry out attacks on worshippers and security forces at the mosque. A suicide bomber who barricaded himself in a house during a security operation in the city detonated his device, damaging the building and wounding six civilians and five soldiers. During another raid, one suspected terrorist was killed after opening fire on security forces in Mecca’s Assila district. The third cell was discovered in Jeddah. Security forces detained five suspected terrorists in the operations.
Saudi Arabia is on high alert as the country prepares for the Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) celebrations on Sunday, June 25. It celebrates the conclusion of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting and remains one of the most important dates on the Muslim calendar. Generally speaking, the month of Ramadan is historically marred by a significant increase in terrorist threats and as such there is a potential for attacks to be carried out during Eid celebrations.
Individuals in Saudi Arabia are advised to exercise caution at all times, to keep a low profile, and to avoid public places lacking adequate security measures or locations deemed particularly likely to be targeted in the event of an attack (e.g., official buildings, military zones, etc.). Report all suspicious objects or behavior to authorities.