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.
The suicide bombing Monday outside the sprawling mosque grounds where the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) is buried in the western city of Madinah 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 the holy city of Makkah.
The Governor of Madinah, Prince Faisal bin 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 Madinah attack or two other attacks in the Kingdom on the same day – one near the US Consulate in Jeddah and the other at a mosque in the east of the country. The nature of the attacks and their apparently coordinated timing suggested the Daesh 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 Jeddah with “his wife and her parents.”
The ministry said on official the bomber had been residing nearby Red Sea port city in Jeddah.
He was born in Pakistan in 1981 and resided in the city of Jeddah with his wife and her parents. He arrived in the Kingdom 12 years ago to work as a private driver, Saudi Press Agency, SPA, said.
Saudi officials also released the photograph of the bomber on his identity card.
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.
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.
Pakistani PM urges international response
Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif condemned the terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and has urged for international anti-terror response.
“The government and people of Pakistan are deeply shocked and saddened over the terrorist attacks in holy land and share the pain and grief of their Saudi brethren,” Sharif said.
The Pakistani Prime Minister stressed that the international community in general and the Muslims in particular need to forge unity at this critical moment to foil the nefarious designs of enemies of humanity and the Islamic nations.
“We need to renew collective efforts to fight the menace of terrorism,” the Prime Minister said and reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He said Pakistan stands firm against every act of terrorism.
Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif, spoke to the Saudi Defence Minister Muhammad bin Salman and condemned the terrorist attack.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Saudi brethren in fighting the menace of terrorism,” the army chief said in his message.