Man Shot Dead in Qatif

A young man was shot dead late on Friday in the restive region of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, the Eastern Province Police said. The EP Police spokesman said in a statement that the man has died before they managed to transfer him to the hospital.

“A police patrol came under heavy fire from unknown source during its duty on midnight Friday in the town of Toubi in Qatif area,” the spokesman said. “This has prompted the police to respond in kind in accordance with regulations.”

The statement did not say if the two incidents are related, but said the death will be investigated.

Activists pages on Facebook identified the man killed as Ali Hasan al-Mahrous, a 19-year-old from the town of Khuwaildiyah.

The oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is home to the Shia minority. The region has witnessed intermittent protests over the past months. The Shia have for long complained of discrimination. The government denies that it discriminates against its Shia citizens and usually describes the protests as isolated riots.

At least 19 people have been killed in Qatif protests since March 2011.