Three Saudi 'terrorists' killed in Shia region: state media

Three Saudi 'terrorists' killed in Shia region: state media
Saudi state media said three wanted "terrorists" were killed in a shootout with security officials in the Shia-majority eastern region of Qatif.
2 min read
28 September, 2018
Saudi forces have repressed protests in the Shia-majority Eastern Province [Getty]

Three Saudi men branded as "terrorists" by authorities in the kingdom were killed in a shootout with security officials in the Shia-majority eastern region of Qatif, state media said on Thursday.

The men were wanted for "terror incidents in Qatif" in the kingdom's Eastern Province, the official Saudi Press Agency said citing a security spokesman.

Three security officers also suffered minor injuries as they raided the "hideout" in a residential neighbourhood on Wednesday, the spokesman said.

"No other resident of the building or passersby were hurt due to the intensive firing from inside the place towards the street," he said.

Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province has seen bouts of unrest since 2011 when protesters emboldened by the Arab Spring took to the streets demanding an end to what they say is discrimination by the Sunni-dominated government.

The Shia community is estimated to make up between 10 and 15 percent of the kingdom's population of 32 million, but the government has released no official statistics. The government denies discrimination against Shias.

Qatif is home to the largest concentration of Shia Muslims in the kingdom. 

The town of Awamiya has historically been a flashpoint for demonstrations against the Saudi regime it accuses of being sectarian. 

Tensions have been especially high since Saudi authorities executed prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr for terrorism charges two years ago, sparking widespread outrage and leading to renewed tensions with regional rival Iran.

In May last year, bulldozers began demolishing Awamiya's historic buildings, with plans to tear down several hundred homes, as officials alleged it had become a hideout for local militants.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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