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Saudi Arabia names Pakistani man as suicide bomber in Jiddah


Dubai : Saudi Arabia today identified the suicide bomber who struck outside the US Consulate in Jiddah as a Pakistani resident of the kingdom who arrived 12 years ago to work as a driver.

The suicide bombing near the diplomatic post was the first of three targeting the kingdom yesterday, including one outside of the sprawling mosque grounds where the Prophet Muhammad is buried in the western city of Medina that killed four Saudi security troops and wounded five.

Millions of Muslims from around the world visit the mosque every year as part of their pilgrimage to Mecca.

The governor of Mecca, Prince Faisal bin Salman, who is a son of King Salman, was shown on state television visiting security officers wounded in the Medina blast and the site of that explosion within hours of the blast.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Jiddah and Medina attacks, nor another at a Shiite mosque in the east of the country. The nature of the attacks and their apparently coordinated timing suggested the Islamic State group could be to blame.

An Interior Ministry statement issued today identified the man behind the Jiddah attack as 34-year-old Abdullah Qalzar Khan. It said he lived in the port city with “his wife and her parents.” The statement didn’t elaborate.

In that attack, the bomber detonated his explosives after two security guards approached him, killing himself and lightly wounding the two guards, the Interior Ministry said. No consular staff were hurt.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said authorities in Islamabad were working to get more details about the man. He condemned the attacks and expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom valued the contributions of Pakistani guest workers.

“Terrorism is a global phenomenon and is not country- or people-specific,” Zakaria said.

There are around 9 million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia, which has a total population of 30 million. Among all foreigners living in the kingdom, Pakistanis represent one of the largest groups.

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, who had been visiting the kingdom for a religious pilgrimage, left Jiddah today, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi ministry said the attacker in the Medina assault set off the bomb in a parking lot after security officers became suspicious about him.

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