At a time when Muslims look forward to celebrating Eid, which brings to an end the holy month of Ramadan, Islamic State has unleashed a number of devastating strikes across several countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey and Kuwait.
Many attacks happened during Ramadan last year, targeting Somalia, a Kurdish town in Syria and a Tunisian beach resort. "There is no doubt in my mind that Al-Qaida, its various affiliates and now Isis use Ramadan as a watershed, as a marker to inspire and motivate their followers and supporters worldwide," said Fawaz Gerges, jihad expert and LSE professor in a New York Times report.
Multiple, coordinated attacks across several cities in the Saudi Arabia on the same day, demonstrates Islamic State's deadly animosity of the government of the Arab state, seen by them as an ally of the West and part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq. Local affiliates of Daesh have targeted minority Shiites, security officials and holy sites.
Monday 4 July's attack on the Prophet's Mosque is one of the most revered areas and comes just before the end of Ramadan, during which observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Jenan Moussa, reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV, said: "The prophet's mosque is holiest sites in Islam. Attacking mosque is comparable to attacking Vatican or Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem."
Saudi Arabia has been the focus of Islamic State attacks, killing dozens of people, with the Interior Ministry reporting 26 terror attacks in the kingdom over the last two years.
There have also been numerous attacks on the eastern area of Qatif, a region heavily populated by Shiites, the minority in the Sunni-controlled kingdom. The suicide bombing on Monday in Qatif is just the latest as Islamic State's local affiliates previously attacked a Shiite mosque in May 2015 that killed 21 people.
In particular, Westerners and Saudi security posts have been the target, as in a 2004 al-Qaida-linked militant attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah which killed five consular employees and four gunmen. A spokesman for IS said in May that Islamic militants should "make it, with God's permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere."
In Kuwait, security forces said on Monday they had arrested several suspects with alleged ties to IS, including an 18-year-old man who was planning to attack a Shiite mosque in the penultimate days of Ramadan. Last year, an IS affiliate claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing which killed 27 people. It was carried out by a Saudi man in one of Kuwait's oldest Shiite mosques.
In an audio message released last month, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani, the Islamic State spokesman, called upon the group's followers to use Ramadan as a clarion call for revenging strikes by a United States-led coalition in the group's central territories in Syria and Iraq.
"Know that in the heart of the lands of the Crusaders there is no protection for that blood, and there is no presence of so-called civilians," he said.
Jihadists should act, he said, "so that perhaps you will gain the great reward for martyrdom in Ramadan."