A Saudi man in a speeding car crashed into the outer gates of Mecca’s Grand Mosque late Friday night, the country’s state-run news agency reported.
The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. and saw the man’s car ram through a barrier and keep driving until it hit the gate on the Grand Mosque’s southern side, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Authorities arrested the man inside, who appeared in an “abnormal” condition, the agency said, without elaborating. Police referred the man to prosecutors for possible charges, according to the report.
Video on social media corresponded to the news agency’s account, with security forces later seen pushing the damaged sedan away.
Watch: #SaudiArabia’s authorities arrest a man who crashed his car into one of the gates of the Grand Mosque in #Mecca, state news agency SPA reports.https://t.co/CdK4Efn8PQ pic.twitter.com/C9P5neyM0x
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 31, 2020
The Grand Mosque houses the cube-shaped Kaaba that observant Muslims pray toward five times a day. Authorities had shut down the mosque due to the coronavirus pandemic, but recently reopened it to small crowds of faithful. Footage broadcast on the state-run Quran TV satellite channel showed people inside circling the Kaaba before and after the crash.
The kingdom held a dramatically downsized, symbolic hajj pilgrimage in July due to concerns that it could easily have become a global superspreader event for the virus.