RIYADH (Dispatches) – Six Shia Saudis are killed and one has been arrested in a security operation in Saudi Arabia’s eastern al-Qatif region, the state news agency reported on Wednesday.
Security forces claimed they attempted to facilitate the suspects' surrender but were forced to open fire after they refused to stand down, Al-Arabiya English reported.
Six people were killed and one was detained as a result of an operation conducted in Saudi Arabia's eastern Al-Qatif province on Monday, according to the reports.
Al-Arabiya cited its sources as saying the suspects were not in a declared wanted criminals list.
Saudi Arabia's State Security Presidency is yet to comment on the incident.
Unverified photographs shared earlier on social media showed a bloodied body carried in a tarp by men dressed in fatigues, and homes pockmarked with bullet holes. An online video appeared to show a military vehicle firing in a residential area.
Qatif came to the spotlight in 2017 when Saudi security forces carried out a massive raid that left much of the town’s old quarter flattened.
The province in Saudi Arabia’s east is a flashpoint between the government and Shia Muslims complaining of discrimination and marginalization by the kingdom’s Wahhabi rulers.
According to local sources, Saudi forces on Monday surrounded Qatif for about 15 hours during which they stormed a number of rural houses, claiming they were searching for a number of wanted people.
Protests and attacks on security forces have escalated since Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia cleric critical of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family, was executed two years ago.
One of the leaders of the protest movement, Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, was executed in 2016 on a ‘terrorism’ indictment.