Monday 26 September 2016

Gunman opens fire in Saudi Arabia, killing five before being shot dead

Published 16/10/2015 | 21:06

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, 400 kms east of Riyadh, on October 16, 2015, two days after the start of commemorations of Ashura, one of the holiest occasions for the Shiite faith, a minority in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia. A gunman opened fire at a Shiite gathering in eastern Saudi Arabia, wounding four people before being killed himself, state TV said
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, 400 kms east of Riyadh, on October 16, 2015, two days after the start of commemorations of Ashura, one of the holiest occasions for the Shiite faith, a minority in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia. A gunman opened fire at a Shiite gathering in eastern Saudi Arabia, wounding four people before being killed himself, state TV said

A gunman killed five people in an attack on a Shi'ite Muslim meeting hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday before being shot dead by police, state-owned Al Arabiya TV and a resident said.

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"A person who opened fire on a husseiniya was killed, and the attacker was in his twenties," reported another government-run channel, Al Ekhbariya TV, adding that the shooter's motives remained unclear.

A resident reached by telephone told Reuters that the assailant approached the meeting hall in the eastern city of Saihat in a taxi but was stopped at a checkpoint manned by volunteers protecting the site.

Police arrived and a gunbattle broke out, which the resident said injured several people and left the shooter dead.

Amateur video described as filmed by activists inside the hall showed worshippers, including young children, crowding towards the entrance at the sound of gunfire before retreating in fear.

The militant Sunni Islamist group Islamic State has launched a series of deadly attacks inside the kingdom in recent months, aiming to stir sectarian confrontation on the Arabian peninsula and bring about the overthrow of Gulf states' ruling dynasties.

A suicide bomber killed at least 15 people in an attack on a mosque used by members of a local security force in southwest Saudi Arabia in August, and two separate suicide bomb attacks in May on Shi'ite mosques killed 25 worshippers.

Groups of volunteer security guards have been formed around holy sites in the largely Shi'ite Eastern province of the kingdom, whose rulers follow a strict version of Sunni Islam shared by the majority of the country's population.

Some local activists have accused security forces of not doing enough to thwart the assaults, a charge officials deny.

Saudi authorities said in July they had rounded up 431 Islamic State suspects and had foiled plots to attack places of worship and security forces.

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