Saudi Regime Kills 5 at Qatif Village, Cracking Down on Shiite Minority
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Saudi Regime Kills 5 at Qatif Village, Cracking Down on Shiite Minority

Social media users reported clashes, mortar attacks and shooting in Umm al-Hamam on Monday, releasing the names of some of the victims, belonging to the minority community of Shiites. Local sources said that Saudi forces had encircled the village for 15 hours and looted houses during the raid, which was claimed to be aimed at finding wanted people. Qatif, situated in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, has witnessed anti-regime protests since 2011, with demonstrators demanding free speech, release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination. Riyadh has suppressed pro-democracy rallies, but they have intensified since January 2016 when the Al Saud regime executed respected Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. In 2017, Awamiyah, another Shiite-populated Qatif town, witnessed a deadly military crackdown on protests against the regime’s attempt to raze the historical Musawara neighborhood of the town under the pretext of “renovating” the area. Saudi rulers claimed the district’s narrow streets served as a hideout for armed men behind attacks on Riyadh’s forces in Eastern province. Riyadh then deployed military forces with heavy weapons to the town, while bulldozers escorted by heavily armored military vehicles demolished several houses, businesses and historical sites across the Shiite-majority region. Dozens of civilians were killed in the weeks-long military crackdown. Some 30,000 people also fled the town.

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