Two policemen killed in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province

Two policemen killed in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Saudi police patrol in a Shia-majority city, with authorities describing the incident as a 'terrorist attack'.
2 min read
18 September, 2016
Saudi security forces are regular targets in the eastern parts of the kingdom [AFP]

Two Saudi policemen have been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the mainly Shia eastern city of Dammam on Saturday.

The officers were patrolling the area in a police car late on Saturday when they came under fire, authorities said, describing the incident as a "terrorist attack".

Doctors at the local hospital pronounced the officers dead upon arrival, however details behind the shooting are yet to be revealed.

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry confirmed the attack but did not specify who was responsible for the shootings.

However, several similar incidents have been previously witnessed in the kingdom.

The eastern province is home to most of Saudi Arabia's Shia population, who have long complained of marginalisation in the Sunni-majority kingdom.

Parts of the eastern area have seen repeated security incidents since 2011, when a wave of protests began among Shias demanding reform.

In August, four masked men opened fire on a policeman in Qatif.

The officer was wounded in the attack and died on the way to hospital, police said in a statement.

In January, four policemen were killed in similar attacks in the oil-rich east of the kingdom.  

Eastern Province residents have said clashes with police are also sometimes linked to criminal activity including the drug trade.

Sunni extremists from the Islamic State group have claimed attacks against Saudi security personnel elsewhere in the kingdom.