Suicide bomber hits near U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia

A suspected suicide bomber carried out an attack early Monday near the U.S. consulate in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, according to the interior ministry.

The attacker died and two security men were wounded with minor injuries, according to the ministry statement.

The ministry said the attacker detonated his suicide vest when security guards approached him near the parking lot of a hospital. Some cars in the parking lot were damaged. No one immediately claimed responsibility for attack.

The attacker was apparently headed in a car toward a mosque near the U.S. consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia confirmed to the Associated Press that there were no casualties or injuries among the consular staff. The embassy said it remains in contact with Saudi authorities as they investigate the attack.

The interior ministry did not specify if it there are indications the bomber intended to target the U.S. diplomatic compound.

The attack comes on the same date that the U.S. celebrates Independence Day and just days before the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in which observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

The U.S. consulate was the scene of an attack in 2004, when five employees and four gunmen were killed. The Saudi wing of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for that attack.