January 7, 2020 / 12:58 PM / 12 days ago

Saudi Arabia arrests wanted man in Eastern Province: state TV

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday arrested a man it said had opened fire on a security patrol in the eastern Al-Qatif region, a regular flashpoint between the Sunni Muslim dominated government and minority Shi’ites.

State TV identified the man as Mohammed Hussein Al Ammar and said he had been wanted since 2016 for attacks on security forces and robbing vehicles transporting cash. Al Ekhbariya described him as “the most dangerous wanted terrorist” on one of its lists.

The incident in the oil-producing Eastern Province comes at a time of heightened regional tensions after a top Iranian general was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week.

Local media and a resident reported gunfire since Tuesday morning in several Qatif districts and security vehicles closing some roads. It was unclear if there were any casualties.

Saudi security services regularly carry out operations in Qatif, with fatalities recorded repeatedly last year according to state media.

Riyadh has accused its arch-rival Tehran of backing Shi’ite militant attacks on security forces in the region. Iran and many Qatif residents deny that such a link exists.

Shi’ites have long complained of discrimination and margizalisation. Saudi authorities deny mistreatment.

Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Jon Boyle, William Maclean

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