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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Riyadh identifies Shiite mosque bomber as Saudi national

It came as the four victims of Friday's attack were buried by the minority community, amid fears of another deadly suicide attack.
Mourners carry a coffin during a mass funeral held on June 3, 2015, in the Saudi city of Dammam for the victims of a mosque bombing carried out by ISIL. STR/AFP Photo
Mourners carry a coffin during a mass funeral held on June 3, 2015, in the Saudi city of Dammam for the victims of a mosque bombing carried out by ISIL. STR/AFP Photo

RIYADH // Saudi Arabia identified the suicide bomber behind the attack on a Shiite mosque that killed four people as a Saudi national on Wednesday, as it offered cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of other terrorist suspects.

The country has been rattled by Friday’s attack in the port city of Dammam, along with a bombing the week before on another Shiite mosque in the nearby village of Al Qudeeh. Both were claimed by ISIL, raising concerns of further attacks in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich east.

The four men killed in the Dammam attack were buried on Wednesday by the minority Shiite community, with mourners hailing the dead as heroes after three of the men prevented the bomber from entering the hall of the Al Anoud mosque.

Mohammed Al Arbash, his brother Abdul Jalil, Mohammed Eisa and Abdul Hadi Al Hashim died when the attacker, disguised as a woman, blew himself up in the mosque car park.

The fourth man killed was another civilian who was at the site when the blast struck.

The interior ministry identified the attacker on Wednesday as 19-year-old Khalid Ayed Mohammed Wahhabi Shammari. ISIL had earlier called the bomber a “soldier of the caliphate”, who went by Abu Jandal Al Jazrawi, a nom de guerre suggesting that he was Saudi.

The explosive used in Friday’s attack was RDX, a military-grade compound that was also deployed in the Al Qudeeh bombing. That earlier attack killed 22 people, making it the deadliest militant assault in the kingdom in more than a decade.

Earlier on Wednesday, cranes had lowered concrete barriers into place outside the Al Anoud mosque amid fears of another deadly suicide attack.

“We are under threat, very serious threat,” said Hussein Al Nemr, an organiser of the funeral.

Mohammed Al Arbash, who lost two cousins in the attack, said that the Sunni majority is not to blame.

“Sunni people are our brothers,” he said. “This man who exploded himself is not Sunni.”

Meanwhile, in a statement reported by the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday, the interior ministry listed the names of 16 suspects wanted in connection with the attacks and warned that dealing with them “will make the person accountable”.

It promised a reward of 1 million riyals (Dh979,420) for information leading to the arrest of the suspects, 5 million riyals for the arrest of multiple suspects and 7 million riyals for thwarting a terrorist operation.

* Agence France-Presse