Blast outside mosque in Dammam kills four

RIYADH: A car blast outside a Saudi mosque during Friday prayers killed four people, including its driver, in an attack that was “foiled” by the authorities, the interior ministry said.

“Authorities have managed to foil a terrorist crime targeting people performing the Friday prayers at Al-Anoud mosque in Dammam,” capital of Eastern Province, said a ministry spokesman quoted by the Saudi Press Agency.

The explosion went off as security officials approached the car while it was being driven to a parking lot near the mosque, the spokesman said.

“When they headed towards it, it exploded killing four people, at least one of them believed to be its driver,” he said, adding that other nearby vehicles caught fire.

The blast is the second in a week after a suicide bombing on a mosque during Friday prayers in a village in Eastern Province killed 21 people.

A witness of the latest attack, Nassima al-Sada, said it was carried out by a suicide bomber who blew himself up after security volunteers tried to stop him from entering the ladies side of the mosque.

After last week’s attack, residents set up security committees to search those entering mosques during prayers, witnesses said.

Women were not allowed to pray at the mosque this week over security fears, Sada said.

The interior ministry spokesman said that investigations were ongoing.

Residents of the area circulated pictures of the body of a man believed to be the suicide bomber as well as video of large black clouds of smoke billowing over what appeared to be a parking lot outside the mosque.