NEW: Local government official says 21 people were killed, according to Saudi news agency
Suicide bomber blows himself up at Shiite mosque in predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia
Tweets from ISIS supporters relay statement from group claiming responsibility for attack
A suicide bomber detonated himself at a Shiite mosque Friday in the predominantly Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the country’s official press agency said, killing 21 worshippers in an attack that has been claimed by ISIS.
If ISIS’ claim of responsibility is true, it would be a rare attack by the Sunni Islamist terror group inside Saudi Arabia.
Qatif Gov. Khalid bin Abdul Aziz Elsafaan put the death toll at 21, SPA said.
The explosion happened as Shiite worshipers performed prayers at the Imam Ali mosque in the Persian Gulf-area village of Qudayh, in one of Saudi Arabia’s few Shiite population centers, the Qatif governorate in the Eastern Province.
Social media posts from purported witnesses appear to show images of bodies amid shattered glass and concrete.
Tweets from ISIS supporters relayed a statement from the group claiming responsibility for the attack. The statement included details of the operation and a photograph of the alleged bomber.
ISIS, the extremist group that has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria for what it calls its Islamic caliphate, hasn’t made many publicized attacks in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the most recent occurred in January when Saudi Arabia said that ISIS fighters broke through Saudi defenses on the Iraqi-Saudi border, killing three Saudi soldiers.
Shiite Muslims are a minority in Saudi Arabia, where 85% to 90% of the citizens are Sunni.
CNN’s Merieme Arif contributed to this report.