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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi court sentences seven to death for 2014 IS-linked killings

Shia Saudis take part in a funeral following an IS attack in Qatif governorate [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2020

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Seven defendants were handed the death penalty and three others given 25-year prison terms after being convicted of killing seven people during Ashura in Saudi Arabia's Shia region
A Saudi court Wednesday sentenced seven people to death and three others to 25 years in jail for a 2014 attack in the Shia-populated east, state media said.

Gunmen shot dead seven people, including children, in the town of Al-Dalwa in November 2014 during the commemoration of Ashura, one of the holiest occasions for Shia Muslims.

The court issued "a preliminary verdict against those accused of the terrorist operation", Al-Ekhbariya Television reported.

Seven defendants were handed the death penalty, while three others were given 25-year prison terms. Two others are yet to be sentenced, the report added.

The court ruling can be appealed. 

The assailants were linked to the Islamic State group, Saudi authorities said at the time.

The 2014 assault was the bloodiest since a series of attacks between 2003 and 2006 by Sunni extremists against Westerners and government targets.

Since the killings in late 2014, the Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks against the kingdom's minority Shias, whom the jihadists consider heretics.

Most of the attacks were staged in oil-rich Eastern Province, home to the majority of Shias in the country.

In May 2015, 21 people were killed by a bombing in a Shia mosque in Eastern Province.

Months later, in October 2015, a gunman killed five people marking Ashura in the Qatif area, before police shot him dead.

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