Saudi policeman shot dead in majority Shia town

Saudi policeman shot dead in majority Shia town
The attack is the third of its kind in Dammam in the past two months with concerns that sporadic unrest among Saudi's Shia community could be coming to a head.
2 min read
19 November, 2016
The January execution of Nimr el-Nimr angered the Shia community in Saudi Arabia [AFP]

A Saudi policeman was shot dead on Saturday in the Kingdom’s Shia-populated east, the country’s interior ministry has said.

The officer was struck by gunfire from an “unknown source” while existing his car in a suburban neighbourhood northwest of the city of Damman, in the country's east, according to a ministry spokesman quoted in the state-run SPA news agency. 

The deceased officer, reported AFP, was part of a unit assigned with guarding public institutions in the area. 

Authorities have since begun an investigation into the attack which is the latest in a string targeting policemen in Shia areas of Saudi Arabia. The attack marks the third in Damman alone in the past two months. 

Since the events of the Arab Spring and in particular following the suppression of Shia-led uprisings in Bahrain in 2011, there has been sporadic unrest within Saudi Arabia’s Shia community who have long complained of state-sponsored discrimination. 

In January the execution of influential Saudi Shia Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr caused resentment within Saudi Arabia’s Shia community and lead Iran to issue a travel ban on its citizens travelling to the kingdom to attend this year's Hajj pilgrimage. Tehran and Riyadh have since severed diplomatic ties.

This year Saudi security forces have also come under attack by militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and IS.