JEDDAH: Saudi security forces successfully prevented a man from setting himself alight beside the Kaaba inside Makkah’s Grand Mosque late on Monday.
The man, who police said shows signs of mental illness, tried to set himself alight with gasoline but was arrested before he could do so.
The media spokesman for the special forces Maj. Raed Sameh Al-Sulami said that a citizen in his 40s was arrested near the Kaaba on Monday at 11 p.m. after pouring gasoline on his clothes.
“He was held before he went on with his dramatic self-immolation act and his behavior indicates that he is mentally ill. All the necessary measures will be taken,” the spokesman said.
Police did not elaborate on what action would be taken following the incident.
A video clip circulating on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed a man being hustled away from the Kaaba, the black-clad building toward which the world’s Muslims face to pray.
A report by online news site Sabq.org said a citizen saw the man pouring liquid on himself from a flask. Noticing that the liquid was gasoline, he grabbed the flask and shouted for help.
Security guards and police are seen acting swiftly to deal with the incident, aided by pilgrims.
The incident follows another disturbance in 2014, when a man — also described by police as mentally ill — caused alarm when he broke lanterns at the Grand Mosque.