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.


Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

Updated 4 min 50 sec ago

Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

  • The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers
  • An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but local youths subsequently mobilized for an attack on the army position

JUBA: Clashes between soldiers and civilians during a disarmament exercise in the central South Sudanese town of Tonj have left 127 dead, the army spokesman said Wednesday.
Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.
More than six years after a civil war broke out in the country, and in the absence of a functioning government, many communities are flush with weapons, which they keep for protection or defense against cattle raids.
The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers. An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but according to Koang the youths mobilized others for an attack on the army position.
“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.
A further 32 soldiers were injured.
Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.
South Sudan is emerging from a six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced, and disarmament is a major stumbling block.
Experts have warned against operations that coerce people to lay down their guns without proper planning, as some communities could find themselves unable to protect themselves after their weapons are removed.
“The clashes should be an opportunity to rethink the approach to disarmament. What is the point of removing guns without addressing what drives folks to arms themselves?” Geoffrey Duke, head of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, said on Twitter.
“We can take guns away this week & they buy a new one next week (as) long as they still see the need to have (one).”