An armed man shouting slogans in support of terrorist outfits was arrested from Makkah's Grand Mosque on March 30 by the Grand Mosque Security Force, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
A spokesperson for the Makkah police told the SPA that the man had been spotted at the mosque's first floor, brandishing a knife and sloganeering after Asr (afternoon) prayer and was immediately arrested by law enforcers present on site. The spokesperson added that legal proceedings had been initiated against the suspect.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, head of the Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques, told The National that the use of racist and extremist expressions was against Islamic doctrines.
The man “did not respect the sanctity of the place. God has made the Grand Mosque a place of worship, including prayer, tawaf (circumambulation) and Hajj", said Sheikh Sudais while speaking to The National.
In October 2020, a Saudi man had crashed his speeding car into the outer gates of the Grand Mosque. Guards had chased the driver as he crashed through two barriers before hitting one of the southern entrances of the mosque and was said to be in an “abnormal condition” by Makkah authorities.
Saudi authorities had also foiled an attempted attack on the Grand Mosque in June 2017. The interior ministry had launched a raid around Jeddah, as well as two areas in Makkah itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighbourhood, located near the Grand Mosque where police had engaged in a shootout at a three-storey house with a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and caused the building to collapse.
The bomber was killed, while the blast had wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces, according to a ministry statement. Five others were arrested, including a woman, it had added.