x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 August 2017

Policeman killed, six injured in Saudi Arabia attack

At least five people were killed over two days last week when security forces began an operation to flush out suspected militants in Awamiya


A police officer was killed and six others injured when their patrol was attacked in the town of Al Awamiyah in eastern Saudi Arabia, the interior ministry said.

“A security patrol was subjected to a terrorist attack using an exploding projectile during its mission to maintain security in the neighbourhood of Al Masoura in the Qatif governorate,” said a spokesman on Sunday evening. “Sgt Mahdi bin Saeed bin Dhafer Al Yami was martyred and six other security men were injured.”

He added that the wounded were transferred to hospital and were in stable condition.

The Saudi Arabian authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, which was the latest in a string of attacks against security forces in Qatif. 

Earlier this month, Sgt Adel Faleh Al Otaibi was killed in Al Masoura in an attack by suspected militants.

In June, a senior police officer, Maj Tariq Al Alaqi, was killed and two policemen injured by a homemade explosive device in Al Awamiya - a Shiite majority town.

Meanwhile, according to local activists, at least five people were killed last week when security forces launched an operation to flush out suspected militants in the area.

The interior minister confirmed that police shot and killed three man wanted for "terrorist" attacks, saying the security forces had foiled a “major terrorist plot”.

"It is very clear that these men were intent on causing a major terrorist incident which would have resulted in the death of many innocent citizens,” said an interior ministry spokesman.

The UAE and other GCC countries, including Bahrain and Kuwait, condemned the assault, reiterating their support for Saudi Arabia and its efforts to maintain security and stability.

Since 2011, Saudi Arabian security forces have occasionally been attacked in Al Awamiya in eastern Saudi Arabia. Some residents have accused the government of marginalisation, something Riyadh denies.

Authorities have been bulldozing Al Masoura, a historic neighbourhood with narrow streets dating back more than 200 years, to make way for an urban renewal project.

Local officials say wanted militants believed to be behind attacks on security forces have been using the narrow streets to escape arrest.

* Additional reporting by Reuters