Attack on Al-Ahsa mosque leaves several dead

Updated 01 February 2016

Attack on Al-Ahsa mosque leaves several dead

JEDDAH: An attack on a mosque in Al-Ahsa on Friday has left four worshipers dead and 18 others injured and a terrorist in police custody, the Interior Ministry said.
The ministry confirmed that two men carried out the attack on Al-Ridha Mosque in Mahasin district.
Security men spotted the attackers as they drove up to the mosque during the Friday congregational prayer. In the process of stopping the attackers from entering the mosque, one detonated his suicide belt and another was captured.
In the attack’s chaotic aftermath, police fired weapons into the air to drive away an angry mob that surrounded a police car holding the suspected attacker, according to a video shot from the scene.
A witness said security forces and ambulances quickly surrounded the mosque.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Daesh has previously carried out similar attacks in the Kingdom. Police have launched an investigation.
The attack was roundly condemned with senior scholars praising the diligent work of the security officials in helping to avert a bigger disaster. In a statement, the scholars said the attacks showed the keenness of citizens in “preserving consensus and unity under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that such acts “will never succeed in undermining the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s security or igniting sedition or dispute among the Saudi people.”
Jordan’s government spokesman Mohammed Al-Momani said the attack on worshippers “reiterates once again that terrorism is blind and it that no one is excluded from its evils.”
Al-Ahsa is in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, which last year saw two major mosque attacks.
Last May, a suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers at a mosque in the village of Al-Qadeeh in eastern Saudi Arabia, killing 21 and wounding 100 others.
Days later, Khaled Al-Wahbi Al-Shemari, who was dressed as a woman, detonated the explosive belt he was wearing when challenged by security volunteers at the entrance of Al-Anoud Mosque in Dammam. The blast caused panic and chaos as worshippers rushed to get out of the building and several cars were set alight in the parking lot by the force of the explosion. Daesh claimed responsibility for both attacks.
The Interior Ministry said soon after they had detained 45 suspects in connection with the mosque attacks.


Dustin Johnson back to full fitness ahead of Saudi International title defense

Updated 5 sec ago

Dustin Johnson back to full fitness ahead of Saudi International title defense

  • World number 5, Johnson, counts last year’s 61 at the Royal Greens & Country Club as one of his ‘best rounds’
  • Johnson is joined by leading US pros — world number 1 Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed

RIYADH: The Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers returns to King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) from January 30 — February 2. Arab News caught up with the big-hitting Dustin Johnson ahead of the European Tour event at Royal Greens & Country Club.

How are you feeling going into the Saudi International after a short spell out with injury?
I’m feeling very good. My knee has recovered well during the off season and I am anxious to get out on the course again. I have been working hard on my game over the last month or so and I am ready to get back to competition. It was a fun event last year and somewhat close over those final few holes, which made it exciting.

You must be excited to return to Saudi after winning the competition last year — what stood out for you from the victory?
Yes, of course. It’s always nice to go back to return to a tournament where you have good memories and my 61 in the second round was one of the best rounds of my year. I was surprised at how good the course was in the first year of playing the event and the hospitality in the country was second to none.

What surprised you about the competition in Saudi Arabia last year and how would you sum up the experience in the country?
Nothing really surprised me about the competition because we all know that it was a world-class field. I loved playing here last year and the field is looking even stronger this year. It’s is great to see a few more Americans making the trip over, which just shows how the tournament is gaining momentum and acceptance.

Last year was the first time the competition was held in Saudi Arabia, do you expect bigger crowds this year and what part can fans play in a Championship?
It was great to see so many people coming to watch us play last year and I hope the turnout will be even bigger this year. The crowds were fantastic and with all of the music concerts also lined up for this year, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

There are more top players competing in the Championship this year – are you confident of recording another victory in Saudi?
I don’t worry about the competition and about defending the trophy and just try to focus on my own preparation. If I play my best golf, I know I’ll have a chance to defend. I have managed to defend a title once before in my career, which is always challenging, so I don’t put any extra emphasis on it and just approach it like any other week.

How important is it for golf to be coming to Saudi Arabia and bring the game into new markets?
It is always good to introduce the game in new markets and although I play the majority of my golf in the US, it is nice come across to the Middle East to compete against such a strong field. Golf Saudi has a really cool vision for the sport in the next ten years and, it will be great to come back to this event in years to come.

Many people in Saudi Arabia will not have attended a golf championship. What can they expect, and what do fans get from watching the golf live and up close that is just impossible to experience through the TV?
It will be great to see more fans coming out to watch again this year. They are able to see what we go through on the course, how we decide which club to hit and experience the excitement of the competition, which is something you can’t really replicate on TV. It is always nice to interact with the fans, sign some autographs and hopefully improve the fans’ experience at the tournament.

More young people in Saudi Arabia are watching sport or taking up sport. What would you say to encourage them to take up golf and what can they learn from the sport?
Just get out there and play and have fun. It’s a great sport that anyone can enjoy for a lifetime. There is more than one way to swing the club and if you watch a few different golfers this week at the Saudi International you will see this for your own eyes.