Policeman and two civilians injured in Saudi violence

#SaudiStruggle

The majority Shia region has been a flash point of violence since May when authorities began demolishing the historic Almosara area

Saudi Shia protestors take part in a demonstration against the death sentence on prominent Saudi Shia cleric and anti-government protest leader Nimr al-Nimr in the village of Awamiyah, in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, on 24 October 2014 (AFP)
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Last update: 
Tuesday 11 July 2017 10:40 UTC
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A policeman and two civilians have been wounded in shootings in a Shia-majority province in Saudi Arabia, police said on Monday.

Qatif, an eastern province in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, has been hit by a string of attacks over the past week, some of them deadly.

Police said an off-duty officer was wounded late Sunday when gunmen opened fire on his car as he was driving by private farmland.

And two civilians were admitted with gunshot wounds early Monday to a hospital in Qatif's town of Awamiya, police added.

All three are in stable condition.

Violence over the past week has gripped Qatif, where two policemen were killed in two separate bombings targeting their patrols on Tuesday and Thursday.

Two more policemen were wounded in a Saturday attack.

Last month, three people, including an officer, were also killed in bombings in the area.

Saudi authorities have said they are treating the bombings last week as "terrorist crimes" and have blamed drug and arms traffickers for unrest in the area.

Residents have accused police of opening fire on civilians and give a higher death toll.

The region has been a flashpoint of violence over the last few months as Saudi authorities attempt to demolish the historic Almosara neighbourhood to make way for a planned renovation project.

Shia residents have told MEE they are under “siege” by state forces, while the Saudis say that the Shia population here is linked to Iran and are carrying out anti-state activity.

Last week, a resident told MEE that the fighting had knocked out power in much of Awamiyah and that 20 homes had been demolished.

In April, the United Nations called on the Saudi government to halt the project warning that it threatened "the historical and cultural heritage of the town with irreparable harm".

Nimr Bakr al-Nimr, a popular Saudi Shia cleric, was an imam at a mosque in Awamiyah before he was executed last year. His execution led to protests and a heavy-handed response from Saudi authorities.