ISIS Claims Responsibility for Car Bomb Attack in Saudi Capital

AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine
AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack at a security point in Riyadh near Saudi Arabia’s highest security prison, according to several news reports.

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry reportedly said the car bomb exploded Thursday night, killing the driver and wounding two police officers.

“The Muslim prisoners in Ha’er and everywhere should know that we won’t tire and we won’t rest until we end their detention, God willing,” ISIS said in a statement posted online, taking responsibility for the attack, Reuters reports.

An attack so close to a maximum security prison holding hundreds of jihadists will likely fuel growing fears of militancy among the Saudis.

The Ha’er prison is home to 1,375 detainees. Most of them have been convicted of militant crimes, the facility’s director told Reuters earlier this month.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that the injured policemen were taken to the hospital and are in “stable condition,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported, quoting a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

“While security officers were manning one of the security checkpoints on Ha’er Road in Riyadh, they directed the driver of a suspected car to stop. The driver initiated an explosion which led to his death,” the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement, said Reuters.

“The blast came with the kingdom on alert for attacks by ISIS, who have been blamed for killing policemen and for slaughtering members of the minority Shiite community,” adds AFP.

Saudi state-run television reportedly described the driver as a teenager who was on the run after killing his uncle.

State news agency SPA identified the teenager as Abdullah Fahd Abdullah al-Rashed and the uncle as former Saudi Col. Rashid Ibrahim al Safyan.

ISIS has urged its followers inside the kingdom to carry out attacks.

Najd Province, an ISIS affiliate from a region around Riyadh, claimed to be behind two suicide bombings at Shiite mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia that left 25 people dead in May.

The group also claimed to have carried out a suicide bombing in June that killed 26 people at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait.

“Thursday’s explosion took place on the last day of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, while fireworks exploded around the Saudi capital before the Eid al-Fitr holiday Friday,” notes AFP.

Saudi Arabia is part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.