The abaya-wearing thief in police custody - Al Marsad

Manama: A spokesperson for the police in the Saudi city of Madinah has dismissed social media reports about the arrest of an Iranian man disguised in women’s clothes for giving children poisoned sweets.

“The reports are not true and lack credibility,” Fahd Al Ghannam said. “The man who was arrested inside the Prophet’s Mosque is an Arab national who wore an abaya — black overall worn by women in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries — to mix with female worshippers and steal from them,” the spokesman said, local Arabic daily Al Madina reported on Tuesday.

The police are still investigating the case, he added.

“We would like to stress the need to avoid spreading rumours and allegations. Anyone with a question can always contact the reliable sources to know the facts and the truth,” he said.

Thousands of worshippers, mainly from abroad, attend the five daily prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque in the second most important site for Muslims.

Police in Saudi Arabia often report cases of men wearing abayas and covering their faces, in line with local traditions, to avoid police checkpoints or to beg for money in front of mosques.