Saudi security forces have killed a Shia youth during an attack against the al-Awamiyah town in Saudi Arabia’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.
Abdullah bin Mirza al-Qalaf was shot dead by Saudi forces, known as the “death squad,” on Monday.
Since 2011, Eastern Province has been the scene of anti-regime demonstrations, with the protesters calling for freedom of speech, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination exercised by authorities.
Saudi regime forces have particularly imposed a deadly crackdown on Awamiyah – the hometown of late prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr—since May 2016. Nimr’s execution by the Al Saud regime drew firm international condemnation and sparked mass protests across the Middle East.
Saudi authorities call the clampdown a “security campaign” against the gunmen there, and have used the measure as a pretext to launch almost daily attacks against the town, destroying residential areas, setting fire to buildings, and reportedly threatening the residents to either leave or face potentially deadly swoops.
Riyadh first started ordering security raids against the region before besieging the town and subjecting it to a so-called renovation project.
The project, which has featured wholesale destruction of age-old structures and rampant raids against various targets, has especially targeted the town’s historic Almosara neighborhood, where the government has been toughening living conditions in order to make people leave.
In May 2016, UN experts criticized the ongoing attempts to demolish Almosara and accused the Saudi kingdom of erasing cultural heritage, violating human rights, and forcing residents to flee their homes.
Multiple human rights groups have voiced concerns over the situation in Awamiyah, and criticized Western countries for keeping mum on Saudi Arabia’s atrocities there.