Security forces at the Grand Mosque in Makkah said that the man they had arrested next to the Kaaba on Monday evening was trying to kill himself and not attempting to set the sacred cubic structure ablaze as reported.
The man, identified by the security forces as a Saudi national in his 40s, was dousing himself in gasoline when he was caught, Major Sameh Al Salmi, the spokesman for the forces said.
“He was held before he went on with his dramatic self-immolation act and his behaviour indicates that he is mentally ill. All the necessary measures will be taken,” the spokesman said, quoted by Saudi news site Sabq.
Previous reports quoted a Saudi man saying that he spotted a man who was spilling gas on the Kaaba.
“As I was circling the Kaaba at around 11:40pm on Monday, I saw a man pouring gasoline from a bottle on Kaaba and uttering takfiri expressions [pronouncing that someone or something is un-Islamic],” Ghazi Darweesh said.
A video clip circulating on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed a man being hustled away from the Kaaba, the black-clad building toward which the world’s Muslims face to pray.
Security guards and police are seen acting swiftly to deal with the incident, aided by pilgrims.
Police arrested a pilgrim with suspicious burning liquid in his hand near the #HolyKaaba early this morning. #SaudiArabia
Posted by Saudi Gazette on Monday, 6 February 2017
“I immediately held him and called for assistance from the people around me. The security men rushed to the scene and took him away.”
“His actions suggest that he is mentally ill,” the mosque’s police service said in a statement, adding without elaborating that police would take measures to address the incident. Police said the man was in his 40s.[Source: Gulf News/ Arab News/Saudi Gazette]