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CIA: Attacks in Saudi Arabia bear ISIS ‘hallmark’

The agency’s director John Brennan says ISIS presents a serious threat not just to Europe and the US, but inside of Saudi Arabia

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CIA director John Brennan said Wednesday that three bomb attacks which struck Saudi Arabia last week bore the “hallmark” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks but observers quickly noted that the methods used resembled those of the extremist organization.

Seven people are believed to have been killed and two wounded in the Madinah attacks, at a mosque in Qatif and in western Jeddah, the economic capital, not far from the US consulate.

“Those three attacks were, I think, the work of ISIL,” Brennan said at an event at a Washington think tank, using the US government’s preferred abbreviation for ISIS militants.

“ISIL presents a very, very serious threat not just to Europe and the United States... but inside of Saudi Arabia,” he told an audience at the Brookings Institution. Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led international coalition battling the ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

In 2015, Saudi authorities announced that they had dismantled an ISIS-linked group, detaining hundreds of suspects. Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, has declared the ISIS group to be an “enemy of Islam.”