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Saudi police, civilians wounded in Qatif shooting attacks

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)
A file photo of Saudi police officers

A Saudi police officer and two civilians have been wounded after a shooting in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province, where the Riyadh regime has launched a heavy-handed crackdown against the Shia Muslim population.

Police said the injuries occurred in two separate incidents in the Shia-populated Qatif region.

Late on Sunday, an off-duty officer was wounded when unknown gunmen opened fire on his car as he was driving through an agricultural area. The policeman reportedly suffered shrapnel injuries from his car's shattered windshield.

The second incident involved two male civilians, aged 30 and 50, who were hospitalized with gunshot wounds in Qatif’s restive town of Awamiyah early Monday.

All the three people are in a stable condition, according to police.

The Eastern Province has been hit by a string of attacks over the past week, with two policemen killed in two separate bombings targeting their patrols on Tuesday and Thursday in al-Mosara, the old quarter of the town of Awamiyah. Two police officers were also wounded in a Saturday attack.

Awamiyah has witnessed an increase in anti-regime protests and an ensuing crackdown as Riyadh has insisted on destroying al-Mosara, claiming the neighborhood's narrow streets have become a hideout for militants believed to be behind attacks on security forces in the region.

Security forces equipped with heavy weapons have been deployed in Awamiyah since May 10, following fierce clashes between the regime forces and locals protesting against the destruction.

The photo shows destruction caused by the Saudi invasion of the Shia town of Awamiyah. (Via social media)

Bulldozers escorted by heavily-armored military vehicles have demolished several houses, business and historical sites across the Shia-majority region over the past few weeks.

More than a dozen people have lost their lives in the ongoing heavy-tactic crackdown by the Riyadh regime since then.

On May 24, UN experts criticized the ongoing attempts to demolish al-Mosara and accused the Saudi kingdom of erasing cultural heritage, violating human rights, and forcing residents to flee their homes.

Since February 2011, Saudi Arabia has stepped up security measures in the Shia-dominated Eastern Province, which has been rocked by anti-regime demonstrations, with protesters demanding free speech, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the Saudi regime. Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism law so as to repress pro-democracy movements.

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