Police officer shot dead in Saudi Arabia's restive east

Police officer shot dead in Saudi Arabia's restive east
1 min read
25 June, 2016
Authorities investigate violent incident amid rising tensions among the kingdom's Shia minority over crackdowns in Bahrain.
Saudi police officers in Riyadh [AFP]

Saudi authorities say that a police officer working on a traffic patrol was shot dead in they country's east on Friday morning by unknown assailants.

The kingdom's Interior Ministry identified the slain officer as Faisal al-Harbi, who came under fire at around 1:45pm that day in the city of Saihat. Investigations are currently underway into the killing of the officer.

Saudi Arabia's predominantly Shia-majority eastern provinces have witnessed periods of unrest since 2011, when the country's religious minority rose up against authorities.

Just a day before al-Harbi's death, Saudi security forces killed a wanted man in the hometown of executed Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Both incidents have occurred amid growing discontent among Saudi Shias about a security crackdown in neighbouring Bahrain, where authorities recently revoked the citizenship of Ayatollah Isa Qassim – a top Shia cleric in the country.

Friday's attack is the latest burst of violence in Saihat, where a gunman killed five people at a meeting hall last October. Elsewhere in the country's east, two policeman were shot dead in January, and in April one policeman was injured by a bomb outside a highway patrol in Al-Ahsa.