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Saudi policeman gunned down in Eastern Province

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Saudi policemen stand guard at the site of a bombing near the US Consulate in Jeddah on July 4, 2016. ©AFP

Masked armed men have shot dead a police officer in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, marking the latest in a spate of attacks across the troubled region this year.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Wednesday, the provincial police said the officer, who was shot in a drive-by shooting in the predominantly Shia town of Qatif, succumbed to his wounds on the way to hospital early on Tuesday.

"The police building and a patrol car were damaged” in the attack, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Interior Ministry said an investigation was launched into the attack.

The incident was the fourth fatal shooting of a policeman in Qatif since January.

Qatif was among locations targeted in three coordinated bomb attacks throughout Saudi Arabia on July 4. The bombings were blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Saudi Arabia has been hit by a spate of deadly shootings and bombings targeting security forces or the country’s Shia minority since last year. The local branches of Daesh have claimed responsibility for many of the attacks.

This is while the Riyadh regime is widely viewed as one of the major supporters of Daesh, which is mainly operating in Syria and Iraq.

Takfirism, which is the terrorist group’s trademark, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi clerics.

The Shia-populated Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011.

Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners as well as an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-producing region.

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