DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi security forces shot and killed a man who was among a group that opened fire and hurled a fire-bomb at a police station in the oil-rich Eastern province, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Saturday.
The agency also quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying that four members of the security forces were wounded in a separate attack by masked gunmen on motor-bikes who fired at two patrols in the village of Sehat, also in Eastern Province, early on Saturday.
Two men were killed on Sunday in Eastern Province, where most of the country’s Shi’ite Muslim minority lives, during protests after the arrest of a prominent Shi’ite cleric. The Interior Ministry blamed the killings on criminals but Shi’ite activists said snipers shot them.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s No. 1 oil exporter and a key U.S. ally, is sensitive to any unrest in the province in case it is fomented by non-Arab Shi’ite power Iran to destabilise the Gulf region. Tehran denies any involvement.
The SPA quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki as saying the attack on the police station in Awamiya took place at around 9:30 pm on Friday. One of the four attackers hurled a Molotov cocktail at the station while the three others opened fire, he said.
“The security at the position dealt with them in accordance with what the situation requires, which resulted in one being killed while the others fled,” SPA quoted Turki as saying.
The agency said the second attack occurred at around 1.00 a.m. on Saturday, but gave no information on the wounded men’s injuries.
The Shi’ite Rasid website www.rasid.com identified the dead man as 18-year-old Abdallah Jaafr al-Ajami and said local social media websites had published pictures of him covered in blood.
It also quoted residents as casting doubt on the police spokesman’s report that Ajami was killed while attacking a police station, saying the compound was well protected with concrete barriers and fences.
Reporting by Sami Aboudi; editing by Tim Pearce