.
.
.
.

Saudi authorities bust ISIS cell near Makkah

Authorities gave no details, but sources said that the forces surrounded a group of men in the Wadi Noman area south of the city

Published: Updated:

Saudi security forces on Thursday busted a cell of five alleged ISIS fighters in the Saudi city of Makkah, authorities said. Two of the militants were killed in the ensuing firefight, while two blew themselves up.

"The security authorities succeeded in their operation against a number of ISIS partisans holed up at a recreational area in Makkah," the local authorities said in a tweet. Makkah is Islam's holiest city and key site of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Authorities gave no details, but sources said that the forces surrounded a group of men in the Wadi Noman area south of the city where a group of five ISIS fighters had been hiding.

In another parallel operation in Jeddah, security forces carried out a raid on a house, arresting two suspects. A bomb squad was deployed to the house after the operation.

In the Makkah operation, Saudi security forces deployed helicopters to back up forces on the ground.

According to Saudi sources, the cell was preparing to attack a security base around a house where the ISIS fighters had gathered.

In an earlier, two-day security operation that ended on Sunday, two ISIS suspects were killed and a third was wounded in southwestern Bisha province.

The operation came shortly after the Saudi security forces arrested Ukab Atibi, a member of the ISIS cell that had carried out a suicide attack on a mosque used by members of a local security force in southwest Saudi Arabia in August 2015.