SHAFAQNA – A suicide attack on a mosque in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif governorate has killed at least five people and injured 20, eyewitnesses told Shafaqna.
Witnesses said a sole suicide bomber entered the Imam Ali mosque in the village of Qadih on Friday during prayers and detonated his explosives. A person who was in the mosque at the time of the attack said there were “tens” of victims and that those injured in the blast were being transferred to local hospitals.
Qadih is a village in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, which is home to the country’s Shia minority.
An eyewitness to the attack, who was praying in the mosque, said “there was a flash of light” then “bodies were flying everywhere”. They said around 200 people were praying at the mosque when the attack happened.
“I counted around 30 bodies carried out from the mosque. I think 15 percent of them were already dead,” the local resident said, asking to remain anonymous.
The death toll has not been confirmed and dozens of injured people have been transferred to local hospitals.
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry confirmed the attack and said an investigation has been opened into the attack.
Local residents told Shafaqna that armoured vehicles have arrived in Qadih but that they were not welcomed by villagers.
“People are angry the security vehicles have turned up. They shouted ‘get out from our village, because you have caused this. You don’t make our city safe.’,” one resident said, asking to remain anonymous.
“The security forces are usually here to attack us. They don’t protect us.”
Qatif has long been the scene of regular protests by the Shia community, who complain of government discrimination.
Residents said that since Saudi Arabia launched its military operations in Yemen, aimed at pushing back Shia Houthi rebels, sectarian speech has increased in the kingdom.
The attacker has not yet been identified, however, locals were quick to blame the attack on as having been inspired by Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative brand of Sunni Islam endorsed by the Saudi state.
“This attack was carried out by a Takfiri, for sure,” a resident said, using a term for when a Muslim accuses another Muslim of apostacy. It is a term that is commonly used to describe groups including the Islamic State.
“The attacker will no doubt have been a follower of the Wahhabi ideology.”