An al-Qaeda suicide bomber blew himself up and lightly wounded an assistant Saudi Arabian minister at his home Thursday night. The attack has caused an uproar in the oil-rich kingdom, where the minister has been carrying out a campaign against al-Qaeda.
The attacker, a wanted terrorist, was able to enter the home of Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, assistant Minister of the Interior in charge of Security Affairs, after claming he wanted to turn himself in. King Abdullah visited the minister in a hospital, where he was treated for minor wounds.
“I was in my house waiting to receive the people [to congratulate him on the Holy Month of Ramadan], and there was one person who was going to turn himself in; God made him unsuccessful [in his assassination attempt] and he blew himself up and nobody died except him…,” Naif told the monarch.
The incident occurred days after Saudi authorities discovered and broke up a 44-member terrorist cell that is suspected of being involved in most of the terrorist operations that have plagued Saudi Arabia the past six years.
Naif told Arab News on Friday that the attack has made him more determined to continue the country’s counterterrorist campaign. The last time terrorists successfully attacked in Saudi Arabia was in 2006, and an intensive campaign against al-Qaeda has resulted in numerous arrests.
“Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is like a balloon. You squeeze it on one side and it bulges out on the other,” a Gulf-based security analyst told the Saudi newspaper. “It’s a comeback by Al-Qaeda trying to find new foothold for itself in Saudi Arabia. We could see more operations of this kind.”