Gunmen kill two at Saudi Shia mosque

Gunmen kill two at Saudi Shia mosque
A shooting at the Imam Redha mosque in the restive east of the country has killed at least two and wounded seven, Saudi security officials said on Friday.
2 min read
29 January, 2016
The dust has yet to settle in the aftermath of the attack [The New Arab]
Two gunmen wearing suicide bomb belts attacked a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, killing at least two people and wounding seven, authorities said on Friday.

The attack hit the Imam Redha Mosque in the Mehasin neighbourhood, an area popular with Shia workers of state-run Aramco, the world's largest oil-producing firm.

One attacker detonated his explosives, while the other opened fire, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The second attacker was stopped from blowing himself up, the statement added.

Images shared on social media showed wounded people laying on the mosque's floor.

Security forces and ambulances quickly surrounded the mosque, said witness Mohammed al-Nimr.

The casualties were caused by gunfire, but it was people inside the mosque who were able to stop the attacker from detonating a suicide explosives belt, Nimr added.

In the attack's chaotic aftermath, Saudi police fired assault rifles into the air to drive away an angry mob that surrounded a police car holding the suspected attacker, according to video shot from the scene.

Shias in Saudi Arabia make up some 10 to 15 percent of the ultra-conservative, Sunni-ruled kingdom's population.

The minority group, many of whom live in the country's oil-producing east, were previously targeted in attacks by the Islamic State group, which views Shias as heretics.

No group immediately claimed Friday's attack, but claims of responsibility are likely to come thick and fast.

Earlier this month, Saudi officials executed a prominent Shia cleric from the region, raising tensions in the area.