RIYADH: Four heavily armed attackers were killed in a failed terrorist attack claimed by Daesh on an Interior Ministry building in Zulfi, north of Riyadh on Sunday.
The attack happened at 9:49 a.m. on Sunday morning at Zulfi’s General Directorate of Investigations Center, 260 kilometers northwest of Riyadh, Al Arabiya TV reported.
Initial reports said that four masked and heavily armed attackers, one aged about 40 and three others aged between 18 to 20 years old, were killed by security forces as they tried to crash their car through the main entrance of the compound.
Three of the attackers died during the exchange of fire with the security forces. The fourth man managed to escape and hid in a neighborhood nearby until he was killed by pursuing security officers. The attackers were carrying pistols, machine guns and Molotov cocktails, officials said.
The gunmen were all reported to be Saudi nationals, although the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted officials as saying their identities were still being determined.
WARNING: This video contains images of the bodies of the failed attackers in Riyadh who tried to storm the General Directorate of Investigation’s Center - some people might find these images disturbing https://t.co/eopUUC6fBn pic.twitter.com/doPN24wjwF— Arab News (@arabnews) April 21, 2019
Daesh said in a statement by its propaganda arm Amaq that the attack on the base had been carried out by a group of its militants.
A spokesperson from the Kingdom’s Presidency of State Security said that three government security personnel suffered minor injuries during the exchange of fire with the assailants.
“The security authorities in the Presidency managed to thwart the terrorist act targeting the center of investigations ... and dealt with them as required by the situation,” the spokesman was quoted by SPA as saying.
Special security personnel said they were still assessing the explosive materials that the terrorists had in their possession, the spokesperson said.
Besides their weapons, the terrorists were also carrying ropes, which they intended to use to tie up hostages from the interrogation building.
Hamood Al-Ziyadi, researcher on extremist groups, told Al Arabiya that it was obvious the terrorists were not lone wolves, but were part of a terrorist organization because “it seemed like they had previous training and perhaps even fought abroad or trained in Saudi Arabia with terrorist groups, because of their experience.”
He commended the Saudi Forces in their handling of the situation: “We have security vigilance that expects the unexpected.”
The General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned the terrorist attack on Zulfi.
Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimen, OIC secretary-general, affirmed the OIC’s solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the face of terrorism aimed at destabilizing its security and stability, and it supported the country in its measures to counter the terrorist organizations and its schemes to preserve the safety of its citizens.
He praised the security men who foiled the attack and pointed out that those who planned and supported it were carrying out a desperate plan to undermine security in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Othaimen renewed the organization’s position condemning all acts of terrorism.
The Kingdom of Bahrain also condemned the actions of the suspects in the terrorist attack on Sunday, the country’s news agency said. The investigation is continuing.
Timeline of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia
• April 19, 2018: Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said four police officers were killed during an attack on a security check point in Asir province in southwest Saudi Arabia, while four more were injured during a clash that followed the attack by three militants. The ministry added that police units chased the attackers, capturing two and killing the third. The ministry announced all those involved in the attack were Saudi nationals.
• July 8, 2018: A member of Saudi Arabia’s security forces and a Bangladeshi national were killed at a check point on the Buraidah-Tarfiyah road in Qassim region, a Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry spokesperson said. Two of the terrorists were killed and a third was wounded in the ensuing gunfight.
• Jan. 9, 2019: Six militant suspects were killed in a security operation in Qatif, wounding five officers. The “preemptive” operation against “terrorists” in Al-Jish village in the Eastern Province foiled a planned attack on infrastructure development in the area, and seven machine guns, three grenades, a pistol, 593 machine gun rounds and 30 pistol rounds were recovered during the raid.
• April 7, 2019: Four attackers targeted a check point with guns and explosives in the Abu Hadria region in the Eastern Province. Two of the attackers were killed during the attack, while the others were arrested. Attackers threw a grenade at a local fuel station and seized a tanker truck at gun point, injuring the driver, a Pakistani national. A Bahraini woman who had stopped at the fuel station was also injured in the attacks as were two security personnel. Several weapons were seized following the attack — two Glock pistols, seven machine guns, and a hand grenade. A forged Bahraini ID card with one of the suspects’ photos attached to it, along with SR66,178 ($17,645) were seized. Reports suggested the attackers were trying to escape Saudi Arabia. Three of the four attackers were on a “most wanted” list in the Qatif region.