Saudi forces kill three ‘terrorists’ in restive Shiite region – state media
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Saudi forces kill three ‘terrorists’ in restive Shiite region – state media

Intensive firing during shootout at ‘hideout’ in eastern region of Qatif also injures 3 security officers; Shiites claim discrimination in Sunni kingdom

Illustrative: Saudi Shiite worshipers are frisked by members of security as they make their way to a hussainiya, a Shiite hall used for commemorations, in the mainly Shiite coastal town of Qatif, on October 16, 2015. (AFP/Hussein Radwan)
Illustrative: Saudi Shiite worshipers are frisked by members of security as they make their way to a hussainiya, a Shiite hall used for commemorations, in the mainly Shiite coastal town of Qatif, on October 16, 2015. (AFP/Hussein Radwan)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Three Saudi-wanted “terrorists” were killed in a shootout with security officials in the Shiite-majority eastern region of Qatif, state media said Thursday.

Three security officers also suffered minor injuries as they raided the “hideout” in a residential neighborhood on Wednesday, the official Saudi Press Agency said citing a security spokesman.

The Saudi men were wanted for “terror incidents in Qatif” in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, the spokesman added without offering details.

“No other resident of the building or passersby were hurt due to the intensive firing from inside the place towards the street,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has seen bouts of unrest since 2011 when protesters emboldened by the Arab Spring took to the streets demanding an end to what they say is discrimination by the Sunni-dominated government.

The Shiite community is estimated to make up between 10 and 15 percent of the kingdom’s population of 32 million, but the government has released no official statistics.

The government denies discrimination against Shiites.

The region was also home to Nimr al-Nimr, a fiery Shia cleric and government critic who was executed in 2016 on terrorism charges, sparking widespread outrage and leading to renewed tensions with regional rival Iran.

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