The Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in a Saudi Arabian mosque that killed at least 15 people, including 12 members of a Saudi special forces unit, the Guardian reported.
The group said in a statement circulated on social media that it had targeted the men because they enabled the rule of Saudi Arabia’s monarchs and their western backers, and because they allegedly tortured ISIS sympathizers.
The group pledged further attacks in the Arab world, and boasted of its ability to pierce Saudi security measures, according to the Guardian.
The Saudi interior ministry said a bomber wearing suicide vests detonated his explosives during Thursday’s noon prayers at a mosque in the headquarters of the “emergency services” in Abha, the provincial capital of Asir, near the south-western border with Yemen.
The government said the blast killed 12 members of the special forces team and three mosque workers. It earlier put the toll at 13, but later said two of the wounded had died.
“The incident is being followed up by the relevant security agencies,” the ministry said in the statement quoted by the Guardian, adding that they had found the remnants of suicide vests in the mosque.
The ISIS statement identified the suicide bomber with the nom de guerre “Abu Sinan al-Najdi”, which indicates that he is from Najd, a region in Saudi Arabia.
The attack is the latest in a series of security incidents in the kingdom. Earlier this summer, suicide bombers who pledged allegiance to ISIS bombed Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, killing dozens of worshippers.
In July, Riyadh orchestrated a major crackdown on ISIS, arresting some 431 people associated with the group.
Of those, some 190 people have been linked to attacks on Shiite mosques in May which killed dozens of worshippers. 144 were due to be tried on charges of helping ISIS indirectly.
ISIS claimed responsibility for several attacks during the month of Ramadan, including a suicide bombing in a Shiite mosque that killed 26 people and wounded more than 200.