Riyadh: A least 17 people were killed after a man exploded a bomb strapped on his body at a mosque inside an anti-terrorism police camp in the wester city of Abha on Thursday noon, preliminary reports reaching the Ministry of Interior said.
More than 30 people were wounded in the attack that hit the mosque at the Special Emergency Forces unit, a source told Arab News.
Among the dead are ten policemen and three mosque workers.
The horrific incident took place in Abha, capital of Asir province, Xinhua news agency reported.
The victims are members of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit, the spokesman told AFP.
“It’s confirmed there's an explosion and there's more than 13 (killed)... in a mosque,” the spokesman said.
"The explosion happened at the headquarters of the SWAT team, which is tasked with domestic security", he added.
Sources have said that the mosque belongs to an Interior Ministry emergency services’ post in Abha.
“A group of officers from the emergency forces were performing afternoon group prayers in Asir province when a suicide bombing took place.
"It resulted in the death of at least 10 security officers, in addition to the three employees who work at the site and wounding nine others, three of them seriously,” Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Al-Turki said in a statement.
“The remains of the dead were found on the site, believed to be caused by the bombing of explosive belts,” the Interior Ministry said on Twitter.
In July, Saudi Arabia arrested 431 people as part of a crackdown on a cluster of cells linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.
It is not the first time a mosque is targeted in Saudi Arabia. ISIS claimed responsibility for the May explosion at a Shiite mosque in al-Qadeeh village east of Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, which killed 20 people. ISIS was behind a bombing in Al-Qadeeh in Qatif province.