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Saudi Arabia Is Hit By Suicide Bombers: 3 Cities In 24 Hours

Saudi policemen stand guard at the site where a suicide bomber blew himself Monday, near the U.S. consulate in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
AFP/Getty Images
Saudi policemen stand guard at the site where a suicide bomber blew himself Monday, near the U.S. consulate in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

From west to east, the targets ranged from a U.S. consulate in Jeddah to the holy city of Medina and a mosque in the city of Qatif. So far, at least, the casualties are relatively light when compared to recent similar attacks. In at least one case, the attacker died before reaching their target.

Information about the attacks is still emerging, and some early reports may prove off-base. We'll move quickly to correct the record and we'll only point to the best information we have at the time. Refresh this page for the latest.

The violence came as many Saudis prepare to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The attack on Medina has particular significance in a country whose ruler is known by the title Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. One of those mosques is in Mecca; the other, the Prophet's Mosque, is in Medina, in an area near where a suicide bomber reportedly detonated an explosive Monday.

At least five people — the bomber, and four members of the security force — died in the Medina attack, according to Saudi-owned TV channel Al Arabiya.

The agency reports:

"Al Arabiya News Channel's correspondent said the suicide bombing took place in a parking lot between the city court and the mosque, visited by millions every year. The channel showed images of fire raging in a parking lot with at least one body seen nearby. The suicide bomber also died in the attack."

The earliest incident appears to have taken place in Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast, shortly after 2 a.m. local time Monday, when security officers became suspicious of a man in the parking lot of the Dr. Suleiman Faqih Hospital, which is across the street from the large U.S. consulate compound.

After the security personnel moved to intercept the man, the official Saudi Press Agency says, "he initiated to explode himself with an explosive belt he was wearing inside the hospital's parking, which resulted in his death and slightly wounding two security men who were taken to the hospital."

In Qatif, which is on the Gulf coast, a suicide bomber reportedly targeted a Shiite mosque. Less is known about that bombing — other than the attacker, we're not seeing any reports of injuries from that explosion.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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