Suicide bomber blows himself up as Saudis foil Mecca plot

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque at Mecca as police disrupted a plot to target the holiest site in Islam just as the fasting month of Ramadan ends, Saudi security forces said Saturday.

The Interior Ministry said it launched a raid in Jiddah province, as well as two areas in Mecca itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighborhood, located near the Grand Mosque.

There, police said they engaged in a shootout at a three-story house a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and led to the building’s collapse. He was killed while the blast wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces, according to the Interior Ministry’s statement. Five others were arrested, including a woman, it said.

Saudi state television aired footage after the raid near the Grand Mosque, showing police and rescue personnel running through the neighborhood’s narrow streets. The blast demolished the building, its walls crushing a parked car as what appeared to be shrapnel and bullet holes peppered nearby structures.

The Interior Ministry “confirms that this terrorist network, whose terrorist plan was thwarted, violated, in what they would have perpetrated, all sanctities by targeting the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.”

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