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Mon 4 Jul 2016 08:44 AM

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Two police wounded in suicide bomb attack outside US consulate in Jeddah

US State Department spokesman said “all personnel under chief of mission authority are accounted for at this time"

Two police wounded in suicide bomb attack outside US consulate in Jeddah
The heavily secured US consulate in the Red Sea city of Jeddah pictured in 2004. (Bilal Qabalan/AFP/Getty Images)

A suicide bomber was killed and two other people wounded in a blast outside the US consulate in Saudi Arabia's second city of Jeddah early on Monday, state TV said, the first bombing in years to attempt to target foreigners in the kingdom.

The attacker parked his car outside a hospital near the consulate at about 2.15am and shortly afterwards his device detonated, killing him and lightly wounding two security men nearby, it said, quoting a security spokesman.

Three further blasts rocked the location of the bombing, a witness told Reuters, as police carried out what appeared to be controlled explosions near the site.

A video sent by the witness showed police taking cover behind vehicles and covering their ears before an explosion sounded.

Reuters could not immediately reach officials to give more details. A photograph on the Sabq news website showed what appeared to be the remains of a man lying next to a taxi.

The witness said the area had been closed off by the security forces and that helicopters were flying overhead. He said the explosion appeared to have taken place about 20 metres (65 feet) from the gate of the consulate.

The US State Department spokesman said it "can confirm that all personnel under chief of mission authority are accounted for at this time".

ISIL has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since mid-2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly members of the Shi'ite Muslim minority and security services.

A decade ago, an al Qaeda campaign focused on Western expatriates in the world's top oil exporter, killing hundreds in attacks on businesses and residential compounds. One 2004 attack hit the US consulate in Jeddah, killing nine.