JEDDAH: Two “terrorists” died in a vehicle explosion Thursday in Qatif, a Foreign Ministry official said. The cause of the blast has not been confirmed.
“Two wanted terrorists were killed in the explosion,” Faisal bin Farhan, an adviser to the Foreign Ministry, said on his personal Twitter account.
According to reports, police are said to be looking for three others who survived.
Police have reportedly identified the two suspects as Fadhel Al-Hamada and Mohammed Al-Somayel.
Videos circulating on social media showed a car engulfed in flames and thick plumes of black smoke.
Social media reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying three other persons were seen fleeing from the car, fueling suspicions that the car bomb exploded prematurely.
Al-Marsad, a Saudi media outlet, said the car bomb exploded in a district with shops and apartment buildings.
A resident, contacted by telephone by Reuters, said he heard a blast and saw smoke rising above an area that police had cordoned off.
Video and photographs posted on social media showed a vehicle engulfed in flames in the middle of a street, with dense black smoke rising around it and a body apparently completely burned being pulled from the wreckage of the vehicle.
Other images showed what appeared to be at least one charred body lying beside a vehicle, which looked like an SUV, after firefighters extinguished the blaze.
Emergency vehicles converged on the scene, a witness told AFP.
“The explosion was very huge,” the witness said.
Daesh began a campaign of bombings and shootings in 2004 that has killed more than 40 people in the Eastern Province.
Last August, police said they shot dead a would-be suicide bomber targeting a mosque in Qatif district.
Two months later, a gunman killed five people at a Shiite meeting hall in Saihat district of Qatif.
Last month, violence escalated around a redevelopment project in the old section of Awwamiya, a Qatif-area town. The Interior Ministry said criminals engaged in the drug and arms trade were involved in the unrest.
A police officer was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade following the shooting deaths of an infant and a Pakistani man in Awwamiya.
— with input from AP, AFP, Reuters