Police officer shot dead in Saudi Arabia's restive east

Police officer shot dead in Saudi Arabia's restive east
Authorities investigate violent incident amid rising tensions among the kingdom's Shia minority over crackdowns in Bahrain.
1 min read
25 June, 2016
Saudi police officers in Riyadh [AFP]

Saudi authorities say that a police officer working on a traffic patrol was shot dead in they country's east on Friday morning by unknown assailants.

The kingdom's Interior Ministry identified the slain officer as Faisal al-Harbi, who came under fire at around 1:45pm that day in the city of Saihat. Investigations are currently underway into the killing of the officer.

Saudi Arabia's predominantly Shia-majority eastern provinces have witnessed periods of unrest since 2011, when the country's religious minority rose up against authorities.

Just a day before al-Harbi's death, Saudi security forces killed a wanted man in the hometown of executed Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Both incidents have occurred amid growing discontent among Saudi Shias about a security crackdown in neighbouring Bahrain, where authorities recently revoked the citizenship of Ayatollah Isa Qassim – a top Shia cleric in the country.

Friday's attack is the latest burst of violence in Saihat, where a gunman killed five people at a meeting hall last October. Elsewhere in the country's east, two policeman were shot dead in January, and in April one policeman was injured by a bomb outside a highway patrol in Al-Ahsa.