The Saudi Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the fatalities included 12 policemen and three workers.
The bombing took place in the mosque used by Saudi special forces in Asir’s provincial capital city of Abha, state TV channel al-Ekhbariya reported.
The broadcaster described the incident as a “terrorist” attack, adding that the explosion occurred when worshipers were praying at the mosque.
Earlier reports had put the casualty figures at 17 deaths and more than 30 injuries. According to an unnamed Interior Ministry spokesman, those killed were members of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit. The Takfiri ISIL terror group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
The claim, made in an online statement by a group affiliated to ISIL calling itself "Al-Hijaz Province," said that one of its members detonated an explosive vest inside the mosque in the southern city of Abha.
Thursday’s attack is the latest in a series of bombings in Saudi Arabia, many targeting members of the country’s Shia minority. Back in May, at least 21 people lost their lives and 97 others sustained injuries in a bomb attack by the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group against Imam Ali (PBUH) Mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.
The May attack was claimed by another ISIL-affiliated group calling itself “Najd Province.” One week later, a similar bomb attack, which was also claimed by the ISIL, targeted another Shia mosque in Eastern Province, with a confirmed death toll of four. The Riyadh regime has long been viewed as a major supporter of Takfiri terror groups operating in Syria and Iraq.
ISIL Takfirism is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi scholars.