A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque at Mecca as police disrupted a plot to target the holiest site in Islam at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Saudi security forces said Saturday. Police engaged in a shootout at a three-story house where the suicide bomber blew himself up causing the building's collapse. The blast wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces. Five suspects were arrested, including a woman. Police raids took place in other parts of Mecca as well as Jeddah. Saudi authorities did not name the group which staged the attack.
In 1979, Saudi tribesmen, fundamentalist Muslims, gained control of the Grand Mosque and held it for two weeks against a demand to depose the Saudi royal house. Their revolt was subdued only after a special counterterrorism unit from France, summoned by Riyadh, killed most of the assailants.