An unknown man driving a white car blew himself up near the United States Consulate in the port city of Jeddah. The authorities reported that only the attacker died in the explosion, but two officers that approached the man were injured in the process.

There is a locally famous mosque in the area which the officials believe was the original target of the unknown attacker. Both witnesses and authorities say the explosion occurred in the first hours of Monday, July 4 which is a critical day for the North American people including the ones inside the consulate.

The gates of the US consulate in Jeddah after an attack on 2004. Credit: AP

It seems the hand of terrorism is knocking at the doors of Mecca for the second time. An unidentified man driving a white car was approached by two police officers in a parking lot sitting next to the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. There are almost no details, but according to witnesses, the law enforcers confronted the man in the parking lot and after some struggle, the man detonated a bomb he was carrying. A picture showing the mutilated body of the presumed terrorist was posted on Twitter by local users.

Jeddah is a sacred place for Muslims and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Even though it would be very simple to find similarities between the explosion and the global wave of terrorist attacks, it might be a little too soon to attribute today’s explosion to groups like ISIS and ISIL. These organizations are known for following an extreme, or according to most Muslims, a perverted version of the Islam.

Like all religions, the Islam has sacred places, and Mecca is the holiest of them all. Jeddah is the biggest sea port city in the area, and it is also near Mecca. Muslims from all around the world go the holy city at least once a year to pay tribute, and millions of them come by seeing, so the end up in Jeddah. That is why people also call it the “gate to the Makkah.” If the Jihadist target anything remotely related to the holy city they could lose popularity among their followers, thus diminishing their recruitment ability.

However, the suspicions are not based on thin air. Back in 2004, five members of Al-Qaeda stormed the United States consulate in Jeddah. Armed with automatic weapons and dressed in military clothes, the attackers killed five members of the security staff and injured two other. The local authorities, including the consulate’s, engaged the men in a firefight killing three of them in the stop and capturing the other 2.

Both of the captured terrorists were injured during the confrontation, and one of them died in the hospital. However, Al-Qaeda claimed the credit on the attack hours after it happened, and so far, no terrorist organization has made a statement about today’s events.

Source: USA Today