Friday, May 22, 2015

Islamic State Bombs Saudi Arabia Mosque, Targeting Shiite Muslims

It's a Shiite mosque.

It's an Islamic civil war fanning across the region, and the Obama administration's inaction fans the flames.

At the New York Times, "ISIS Claims Responsibility for Bombing at Saudi Mosque." (Via Memeorandum.)

Also at the Washington Post, "Islamic State claims responsibility for Shiite mosque blast in Saudi Arabia":
CAIRO — The Islamic State said Friday that it was behind a blast that killed or wounded scores of worshipers at a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia, marking the first time the militant group has claimed an attack in the oil-rich kingdom and raising fears of an expanding sectarian conflict in the region.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi authorities on the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility, which was carried in both written and audio statements distributed by accounts linked with the Islamic State on Twitter.

The Islamic State communique said that a “martyrdom-seeking brother” set off an explosive belt during a gathering of “impure” Shiites, according to the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors militant postings on social media and elsewhere.

The Sunni extremist group views Shiites as Muslim heretics and opposes the Saudi leadership’s ties with the West. The same statement called the attack a “unique operation” and referred to the group’s newly formed “Najd Province,” which encompasses central Saudi Arabia and includes the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The Saudi monarchy presides over Islam’s two holiest sites, making the kingdom a hugely symbolic target for Islamist militants.

In a statement also posted Friday on Twitter, the Saudi Health Ministry said 21 people were killed and 123 wounded in the blast.

The suicide bomber targeted worshipers at a mosque in the village of Qadeeh in the province of Qatif, part of a mostly Shiite enclave about 240 miles northeast of the capital.

An activist, Naseema al-Sada, told the Associated Press that a suicide bomber detonated explosives as worshipers marked the birth of the 7th century Shiite saint, Imam Hussein. The official Saudi News Agency reported an explosion at the mosque but had no further details. The report said authorities launched an investigation into the attack.

Saudi Arabia’s eastern region, which is the heartland of the kingdom’s Shiite minority, has been the scene of sporadic unrest and violence for years. Shiites, who account for an estimated 12 percent of the Saudi population, say they face widespread discrimination from the kingdom’s Sunni leaders. And Shiite protesters have clashed with Saudi security forces during demonstrations for greater rights in the past...

Also at Euronews, "ISIL to blame for Saudi Arabia Shi'ite mosque suicide attack."

And at Reuters, "Suicide bomber strikes Saudi Shi'ite mosque," and Russia Today, "Dozens dead after suicide bomber strikes Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia."