Timeline: Al-Qaeda and ISIS attacks in Saudi Arabia

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Between 2003 and 2006, Saudi Arabia was hit by a wave of al-Qaeda bloody attacks targeting security headquarters and governmental facilities as well as foreign residential complexes and causing numerous deaths. Despite all of these events terrorism in Saudi Arabia didn’t come as a result to the events of May 12, 2003, considering that other acts dated back to 1979.

It is estimated that the number of terrorist acts perpetrated on Saudi grounds reached 59 during 37 years along with 1028 injured and 220 deaths

Differences in statistics were spotted in other reports but the income remains the same: the number of civilian victims is greater than that of the military.

In the wake of the Thursday’s attack which targeted a mosque in Abha, here is a timeline of the terrorist attacks occurred in Saudi Arabia.

March 18, 2003

Terrorist acts began in Saudi Arabia when an improvised explosive device made by Fahd al-Saidi exploded in a house located in al-Jazeera Street in the eastern part of Riyadh. This paved the way for a series of other terrorist acts in different parts of the kingdom.

May 12, 2003

Three trapped cars exploded in Riyadh in three compounds housing Westerners and Arabs killing 20 persons and injuring 194.

June 3, 2003

An American citizen died after being shot and seriously wounded in a naval base. He was working at King Abdul Aziz base (KANB) in the coastal industrial city Jubail.

November 8, 2003

In Ramadan, al-Mahya residential complex, mainly home to Arab and Muslim citizens, was targeted. According to Islamic teachings, it is forbidden to shed blood during this period. This attack killed 12 and wounded 122 people.

April 21, 2004

Suicide bombers targeted the General Directorate of Traffic in Riyadh with a trapped car claiming the lives of 4 security guards and a civilian and wounding 148.

May 1, 2004

Gunmen burst into industrial sites in the city of Yanbu, killed five people (an Australian, two Americans and two Britons), a Saudi security guard and injured 14 of his colleagues.

May 29, 2004

Armed group stormed the Oasis residential complex in al-Khobar city, took 45 hostages and killed dozens of its occupants before the Saudi Forces broke into the building after 48 hours and freed the hostages.

June 6, 2004

The Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers was killed and his British colleague Frank Gardner, BBC’s security correspondent was attacked in as-Suwaidi in Riyadh.

December 6, 2004

An armed group failed to break into the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. Three armed persons were killed, another 2 were arrested and many non-Americans were killed.

December 29, 2004

Two synchronous operations took place. The first one targeted the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior located in Riyadh when a suicide bomber detonated a car injuring a security guard at the eastern gate. The second one took place in the headquarters of the special Emergency Force in Riyadh as two suicide bombers tried to set off a car near the center. They were killed by security forces before they managed to drive the car into the center.

June 18, 2005

Colonel Mubarak al-Awat from the General Intelligence was assassinated of in the suburbs of al-Sharayih in Mecca by two terrorists who shot around 20 bullets from a firearm.

February 24, 2006

Security authorities thwarted an attempt targeting the oil refineries in Abqaiq in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia where suicide bombers tried to detonate two cars they were driving before the security guards of the plants kill them. This led to the death of one security guard.

May 12, 2006

U.S. consulate in Jeddah came under fire. The security forces succeeded in arresting the perpetrator after they shot him.
2006-2009, Saudi cities saw dozens of security raids and confrontations with terrorists that generated the death of many security guards and numbers of those registered on terrorism lists.

Year 2009 witnessed a failed attempt to kill the then Assistant Interior Minister Prince Mohamed Bin Nayef executed by Abdallah Taleh al-Ussayri . Also in 2009, a confrontation took place with Al Qaeda on border crossing points in the region of Jizan. Two terrorists from the wanted list tried to sneak into Saudi territory disguised in women clothes before the security authorities shot them down.

November 5, 2012

Two border security officers were killed in an ambush targeting one of the security patrols in the province of Sharurah in the southern part of the country along the border to Yemen.

July 4 and 5, 2014

Six persons tried to infiltrate into Saudi territory through al-Wadiha crossing on the border with Yemen after a security patrol came under fire in the Saudi part resulting in the death of the commander of the patrol. Two terrorists barricaded themselves inside the General Intelligence headquarters in Sharurah in the southern part of the country then committed suicide which led to the death of three other security guards.

ISIS terror in Saudi Arabia

April 30, 2015

Al-Baghdadi in a speech urged its followers to launch attacks in Saudi Arabia.

November 2014, Al-Dalwa incident

The terrorist cell that targeted a Shiite shrine in early November 2014 in al-Dalwa village in al-Ahsa governoratewas headed by Marwan al-Zafer who was directly involved with ISIS.

January 5, 2015, Border Suwayf center incident

A terrorist attack was perpetrated on, near al-Suweyf center affiliated to Jadidat Arar. The security guards tackled the terrorists while the latter were trying to infiltrate into Saudi territory coming from Iraq.

November 22, 2015, Danish resident

ISIS was behind the shooting incident of a Danish resident in Riyadh on .

March 2015, west of Riyadh

One of the security patrols came under the fire of an anonymous car in the suburbs of Laban west of Riyadh. Two security officers were slightly injured and specialized security bodies investigated this crime leading to the identification of the perpetrator.

April 25, 2015, east of Riyadh

Saudi security authorities announced to have thwarted an ISIS plan to detonate 7 trapped cars. A citizen had in fact contributed to the arrest of Saudi Yazid Abu Niyan

May 8, 2015

While conducting their duties, a security patrol came under fire in the surroundings of al-Khazn south of Riyadh. Commander Majed Aid al-Ghamedi was killed and five terrorists confessed by acting the crime during which they set the soldier on fire.

May 22, 2015

Someone detonated himself with an explosive belt among worshippers in the Mosque of Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb in Qudayh town in al-Qatif district. This lead to 21 deaths and dozens injured.

May 29, 2015

A terrorist attempt to bomb al-Anud Mosque in the Saudi city of al-Damam claimed the lives of four and injured others.

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