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Suicide bombers strike near Saudi Arabia holy sites, U.S. consulate

By Ed Adamczyk, Amy R. Connolly and Allen Cone
Suicide bombers strike near Saudi Arabia holy sites, U.S. consulate
A suicide bomber launched an attack on the Prophet's Mosque, or Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, on Monday. There has been several extremist bombings in the past days as the holy month of Ramadan winds down. Photo by Omar Chatriwala/CC

JEDDAH , Saudi Arabia, July 4 (UPI) -- Suicide bombers carried out attacks Monday near a mosque in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Qatif and near the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, the latest in the ongoing extremist violence as the holy month of Ramadan winds down.

The Prophet's Mosque and Medina are considered hallowed grounds, the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad. Four security officers were killed and five others injured, according to the interior ministry.

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In Qatif, a suicide bomber attempted to attack a Shiite mosque but failed, killing only himself, and injuring no others.

The attacks come just hours after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device 33 feet from the U.S. consulate's wall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and died. Two security officers were slightly hurt while tackling the man.

In the consulate attack, security guards were suspicious of a man standing in the parking lot of a hospital across the street of the consulate, the Saudi Interior Ministry said, adding that two Saudi security guards were injured as they tackled the man. A statement from the ministry said in part, "When [the guards] attempted to stop him and verify and deal with the situation accordingly, he detonated an explosive belt he was wearing."

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It added no motive is known for the attack, and that an investigation has begun.

The attack came on the U.S. Independence Day holiday, and as morning prayers started the last day of the Ramadan fast and the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr festival.

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