x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Saudi police arrest wanted Shiite activist after gunfight

Saudi police arrested a Shiite activist wanted on security-related charges after a gunfight in the Kingdom's Eastern Province.

RIYADH // Saudi police arrested a Shiite activist wanted on security-related charges after a gunfight in the Kingdom's Eastern Province, scene to sporadic protests since early 2011, the interior ministry said.

Abdullah Al Asreeh, one of 23 Shiites on a wanted list for allegedly fomenting trouble in the eastern region, was arrested along with an unarmed man who faces charges of selling drugs and alcohol, the ministry said.

Police exchanged fire with the two men in the village of Awamiya, wounding them in legs before they were captured, interior ministry spokesman General Mansur Al-Turki said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

Saudi Arabia's estimated two million Shiites, who say they are marginalised in the kingdom, live mostly in the east.

Protests began in February 2011 after an outbreak of violence between Shiite pilgrims and religious police in the holy city of Medina.

Unrest escalated after the kingdom's intervention in Bahrain.