Suicide bomber kills security personnel in a Saudi Mosque in Abha

Insights Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia, World Politics

06 August 2015 – A suicide bomber has reportedly killed at least 13 after bombing a mosque in Abha, Asir Province, Saudi Arabia. The dead are believed to be from the security forces. Abha is situated not far from the Yemeni border and is initially being treated as being linked to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is a key player in the conflict, conducting air strikes against Houthi positions in a bid to stem their expansion in Yemen and restore the internationally-recognised government of president Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia has seen other suicide attacks, notably in May in the pre-dominantly Shia Eastern region, which was claimed by ISIS and subsequently led to sectarian tensions within the country. Domestic commentators have been pointing the finger at Iran, propagating the view that Saudi Arabia remains Iran’s ultimate target as they point to Iranian parliamentarians and religious leaders openly stating that Iran ‘will soon be in Makkah and Madinah (the two holy cities)’.

The geographical location suggests that the attack may be related to Saudi Arabia’s ongoing war with the Houthis, whom Saudi Arabia believes are backed by Iran.

Officials have stated that it is not clear who carried out the attack and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The Interior Ministry arrested 431 suspected members of ISIS last month, accusing them of planning attacks on security forces in various parts of the country.

*Officials originally announced that 17 had been killed.