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Saudi soldier killed in restive Qatif province

Violence has frequently erupted in Saudi Arabia's Qatif province [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2018

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A Saudi solider was killed following a raid by security forces in the flashpoint town of Awamiya in the kingdom's Qatif province.
A Saudi solider was killed during a raid in the kingdom's restive Qatif province, Al Arabiya TV reported.

The Saudi-owned news site said the raid targeted suspected militants in the town of al-Awamiya.

In its report on Saturday, Al Arabiya named the slain officer as Ahmed Hassan al-Zahrani and said he was killed "by extremists", without providing details.

"During the raid on Thursday evening, several weapons and explosives were found. Security forces foiled the terrorist plots after the operation," Arabiya reported.

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

Since 2011 the region has been shaken by frequent, though mostly peaceful, protests by the Shia minority angry over what they say is repression of their community.

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.

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.

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