Three suicide attacks hit three different cities in Saudi Arabia today, which could be a sign that ISIS is continuing to ramp up its activity as Ramadan comes to a close. In late May, ISIS leaders called for their followers to carry out more attacks during Ramadan, and sure enough the past four weeks have seen what The New York Times calls “a stunning array of attacks”:
A gunman opened fire in a nightclub in Orlando, killing 49.
A suicide attack on an army post in Jordan killed seven soldiers.
Suicide bombers killed dozens of civilians in Al Mukalla, Yemen, and in a Christian village in Lebanon, on the same day.
In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian assailants killed two Israeli civilians over two days: stabbing a 13-year-old girl while she was asleep in her home in a Jewish settlement and gunning down a man on the road.
On Friday, gunmen stormed a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter, letting some Muslims escape but killing at least 22, most of them foreigners.
And on Sunday, a bombing took at least 143 lives in Baghdad.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks and is the prime suspect in others. A large share of the victims have been Muslims, belying the Islamic State’s claim to be the defender of their faith.
We know now that the death toll in Baghdad is at least 200, and that NYT list is missing several smaller-scale attacks in Iraq and elsewhere. It’s also missing the execution of 65 people that ISIS reportedly carried out in Mosul on the first day of the holy month.
And today you can add these three attacks in Saudi Arabia: one outside the US consulate in Jeddah, another at a Shiʿa mosque in Qatif, and a third at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. At least two security officers were reported killed in Medina, but so far it appears that the only casualties in the other two attacks were the bombers themselves (UPDATE: four guards were reportedly killed in the Medina blast and a couple of security officers were injured in Jeddah). There’s no confirmation yet that any or all of these attacks were carried out by ISIS, so far as I can tell, but it’s likely that there’s some ISIS connection. If they are ISIS-related, they seem more like ISIS-inspired attacks than ISIS-directed attacks.
Yesterday Kuwaiti authorities announced that they’d arrested five people, all allegedly ISIS members, at least one of whom was (again allegedly) about to carry out a suicide attack against a Shiʿa mosque in that country. And while it’s always best to take such claims with a grain of salt, these attacks in Saudi Arabia suggest that there very well may have been some attacks planned for Kuwait today as well.