Saudi Arabia on Tuesday identified the suicide bomber who struck outside one of Islam’s holiest sites the day before as a Pakistani resident of the kingdom who arrived 12 years ago to work as a driver; AP reported.
The suicide bombing Monday outside the sprawling mosque grounds where the Prophet Muhammad is buried in the western city of Medina killed four Saudi security troops and wounded five. Millions of Muslims from around the world visit the mosque every year as part of their pilgrimage to Mecca.
The governor of Mecca, Prince Faisal bin Salman, who is a son of King Salman, was shown on state television visiting security officers wounded in the blast and the site of the explosion, within hours of the blast.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Medina attack or two other attacks in the kingdom on the same day — one near the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah and the other at a Shiite mosque in the east of the country. The nature of the attacks and their apparently coordinated timing suggested the Islamic State group could be to blame.
An Interior Ministry statement issued on Tuesday identified the man as 34-year-old Abdullah Qalzar Khan. It said he lived in the nearby Red Sea port city of Jiddah with “his wife and her parents.” The statement didn’t elaborate.
There was no immediate comment from Islamabad. There are around 9 million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia, which has a total population of 30 million.
Among all foreigners living in the kingdom, Pakistanis represent one of the largest groups.
The Saudi ministry said the attacker set off the bomb in a parking lot after security officers raised suspicions about him. Several cars caught fire and thick plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the site of the explosion as thousands of worshippers crowded the streets around the mosque.
Worshippers expressed shock that such a prominent holy site could be targeted.