A suicide bomber has blown himself up at a mosque in Saudi Arabia, which was used by members of the security forces.

The blast took place in the Asir region, and at least 17 military men have been killed, according to local reports.

The attacker struck the mosque during the early afternoon in the city of Abha, the provincial capital, which is southeast of Mecca and not far from the Yemeni border.

The death toll was originally believed to be at least 10, with 20 injured. However, the latest reports cited by AFP put this figure at 17 at least. Saudi Arabia’s emergency forces used the mosque, the Al Arabiya television channel has claimed.

Local hospitals are desperately appealing for blood to try and treat the injured. Meanwhile, the Saudi authorities say they will make a statement surrounding the terrorist attack soon.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Saudi Arabia has witnessed a spate of terrorist attacks against Shiite mosques over the last few months.

In May, 21 people were killed after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque near the border with Bahrain.

The blast occurred at the Iman Ali mosque in the town of al-Qadeeh, Qatif province, where around 150 people were praying.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, US-based monitoring group SITE tweeted. The militant group reportedly identified the suicide bomber as Abu ‘Ammar al-Najdi, stating that the assault was carried out using an explosive-laden belt.

In July, Saudi Arabia said it arrested 431 suspected members of IS and prevented attacks on mosques, security forces and a diplomatic mission.

The raids by authorities were initiated after a series of attacks against security forces and a minority Shiite community, which IS supporters claim to have carried out.

“The number arrested to date is 431, most of them citizens, in addition to participants from other nationalities … six successive suicide operations which targeted mosques in the Eastern province on every Friday timed with assassinations of security men were thwarted,” the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement posted on the official news agency SPA, Reuters reports.

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