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IS claims responsibility for Riyadh car bombing

Saudi authorities say interior ministry official shot dead by bomber prior to suicide attack on checkpoint near prison that wounded two policemen
The aftermath of an attack on a mosque in the Saudi city of Dammam in May (Twitter)

A Saudi affiliate of the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing near a high-security prison in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Thursday that wounded two policemen and killed the driver of the vehicle.

Saudi authorities said the 19-year-old they identified as the bomber had also killed his uncle, a colonel in the interior ministry, prior to the attack on a checkpoint near the Al-Hair prison, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

In a message on its Twitter account, IS’s affiliate in Najd, a central region of Saudi Arabia, said the attack was a message to militants in the prison that they had not been forgotten.

"Let the Muslim captives in Al-Hair and everywhere know that we will not relent or tire until we release them from imprisonment, with permission from Allah," the group said in a tweet quoted by the SITE Intelligence monitoring group.

Saudi authorities named the attacker as Abdullah al-Rashid. They also confirmed the death of Rashid Ibrahim al-Safyan, the interior ministry colonel who they said had been killed in his home. The wounded policemen were in a stable condition in hospital, they said.

Thursday’s bombing came with Saudi Arabia already on alert for attacks by IS, which has been blamed for killing policemen and for deadly attacks targeting the country's minority Shia community.

On successive Fridays in May two suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Eastern Province killed 25 people.

IS’s affiliate in Najd claimed those attacks as well as another suicide bombing that killed 26 people at a Shia mosque in Kuwait last month.

Five Saudis are among 29 people charged in connection with the Kuwait bombing.

IS has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, where it has carried out numerous atrocities and inspired attacks around the world.