2 Saudi police shot dead in kingdom's east

2015-11-18 14:03
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Riyadh - Two Saudi policemen were shot dead on Wednesday when they came under fire in the kingdom's east, where most of the minority Shi'ite community live, the interior ministry said.

The pre-dawn attack happened near a farm in the Saihat area of Qatif, on the Gulf coast.

A ministry spokesperson said the suspect or suspects had not immediately been identified.

It is the latest incident in the area as police continue to hunt suspects on a list of 23 wanted people issued in 2011 after Shi'ites in Eastern Province began protests.

Shi'ites in the Sunni-dominated kingdom have complained of marginalisation.

Last week, two Indian passersby and a policeman were wounded when officers came under fire from a farming area in Qatif.

Many suspects on the wanted list have already been detained or killed in shootouts.

In early October gunfire erupted in the Shi'ite town of Awamiya, near the Gulf coast city of Dammam, after police sealed it off with armoured vehicles.

Police seized a large amount of ammunition during a search of a farming area there, the interior ministry said.

Last month, Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court confirmed a death sentence against Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a leader of anti-government protests convicted of sedition and other crimes.

Activists are calling for the sentence not to be carried out, saying Nimr engaged only in peaceful opposition.

He is one of seven Shi'ites sentenced to death in connection with Shiite unrest since 2011, activists say. Three of the convicts were under the age of 18 at the time of their arrests.

Over the past year, Saudi Shiites have been targeted by suicide bombings and shootings claimed by Sunni extremists of ISIS, who consider them heretics.

In the latest attack, a gunman killed five Shi'ites in Saihat last month during commemorations of Ashura, one of the holiest observances of their faith.

Read more on:    saudi arabia

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