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The simultaneous bombings of Shia mosques in Yemen and Saudi Arabia claimed by Islamic State are a spillover of Riyadh’s Yemeni adventure and a warning that the jihadists have the kingdom in their crosshairs. With IS advancing in Syria and Iraq, Riyadh faces threats on several fronts.
Islamic State (IS) has in recent weeks expanded its presence in Syria, where it controls more than half of the country’s territory, while its capture of Ramadi in Iraq’s Sunni heartland has quashed the argument that the militant group is in retreat.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who ascended the throne in January, was quick to condemn a suicide bomb attack on 22 May targeting the ‘Ali bin Abi Taleh mosque in Qatif in the Eastern Province, the kingdom’s oil producing hub and home to the minority Shia which make up around 10% of the Saudi population. The attack killed 21 worshipers and injured more than 100 others during Friday prayers, when attendance is highest.
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