Saudi Arabia: 4 killed 6 wounded in Qatif


The Saudi Arabian ministry of Interior announced that 4 Saudi citizens were killed and another six were wounded in the Shiite Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

The ministry said that the deaths occurred after unidentified armed terrorists attacked the security forces and said foreign hands are behind the incident.( A possible reference to Iran)

New protests broke out in the area following the death of two Shiite protesters .

Demonstrators marched late Tuesday in the towns of Shweika and Awamiya calling on authorities to hand over the bodies of the two protesters killed in clashes with police this week.

In a step apparently aimed to diffuse tension, Saudi authorities have decided to form a commission to probe the death of the two protesters

“The governor of the Eastern Province, Prince Mohammad bin Fahd, has informed us that the Interior Ministry has formed an inquiry commission,” said Sheikh Hussein al-Soweileh.

The cleric was part of a delegation of Shiite dignitaries from Qatif who met Tuesday with the governor – a son of the late King Fahd who died in 2005.

The governor “has asked us to bring calm to the street, mainly as [the annual Shiite commemoration period of] Ashura approaches,” he said.

In October, 14 people, including 11 policemen, were wounded during clashes with security forces and demonstrators in the same area. At the time, the Interior Ministry in the Sunni-ruled kingdom blamed “outlaws” for the violence and hinted at Iranian involvement in instigating the clashes.

Also last March 10 similar protests took place in the same area in support of the anti government protests in Bahrain

The overwhelming majority of the estimated 2 million Saudi Shiites live in Eastern Province,

Shiites claim that they face discrimination in education and government jobs.

They also complain of restrictions on setting up places of worship and marking Shiite holidays, and say Qatif and Al-Ahsa receive less state funding than Sunni communities of comparable size

The Saudi government denies charges of discrimination. King Abdullah Bin Adel Aziz has appointed three Shiites to the advisory Shura council and included Shiite leaders in “national dialogue” meetings.



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