World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two men had been killed after protests in a Shi'ite Muslim area in the eastern part of the world's top oil exporter, following the arrest of a prominent Shi'ite cleric.
A key U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia has largely escaped the kind of protests that have toppled four heads of state since last year, but the mostly Shi'ite Qatif region of the Eastern Province has been the focal point of sporadic demonstrations alleging discrimination.
A statement from an Interior Ministry spokesman said the deaths followed a protest in the village of Awamiya over the arrest of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, but said there was no clash between protesters and police.
"Security authorities had been notified by a nearby medical center on the arrival of four individuals brought in by their relatives," Major General Mansour Turki, the spokesman, said in a comment sent to Reuters.
"Two of them were dead, the other two were slightly injured. Competent authorities initiated investigations in the incident."
Shi'ite activists and websites had also reported that at least two men had been killed in the protests. The Rasid website named the men as Akbar al-Shakhouri and Mohamed al-Felfel.
"In the aftermath of the arrest ... a limited number of people have assembled in the town of Awamiya," the Interior Ministry statement said. "Gun shots have been overheard in random areas of the town. However, there was no security confrontation whatsoever."
Nimr, seen as a leading cleric, was hurt in an accident as security forces chased his car, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, adding that he was accused of "sedition".
Activists from the Eastern Province, where most of Saudi Arabia's Shi'ites live, posted pictures on the Internet of a grey-bearded man they identified as Nimr inside a vehicle.
He was covered with what appeared to be a blood-stained white blanket.
Shi'ites say they struggle to get government jobs or university places, that their neighbourhoods suffer under-investment, and that their places of worship are often closed down. The government denies charges of discrimination.
Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted and imprisoned in 2013 military coup
Opposition talks team raise humanitarian issues with Russian foreign ministry
Four other Saudis who also had "criminal records and have taken part in terror acts" were arrested following the clash on Tuesday morning, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
War-torn Yemen has so far received only small fraction of $2.1 billion requested by UN, humanitarian official says
Residents of Zabadani and Madaya, two towns near Damascus under siege by government forces, will leave their homes in return for the evacuation of Fuaa and Kafraya, two mainly Shiite towns in the northwest besieged by the rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Two missiles hit a vehicle on the outskirts of the town of Mudiyah in Abyan province, killing all four people inside, the official said.
Appeal comes as Arab leaders prepare for this week's Arab League summit in Jordan
A senior Syrian government official warned on Sunday that the Tabqa Dam had already been damaged by US led air strikes
No damage reported in attack carried out by Houthi rebels in Yemen
Antonio Guterres is also expected to attend one-day Arab summit during his visit to Jordan
Local authorities blame deadly attack -- which also left three attackers dead -- on Al-Qaeda
- More than 1M patients have had operations, and 200,000 Syrian babies born in Turkey since 2011, says Veysi Kaynak
The funds will go towards seven Interpol projects including counter-terrorism, cybercrime and drugs, an official statement said.
Conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya are expected to figure high during Arab summit
Coordinator of International Rabia Platform says Egypt's elected president Morsi is in jail, while a 'dictator' is free
Population of northern Syrian city recovers to 80,000 after terror group was cleared in mid-February