Saudi Man Shot Dead in Qatif As Security Forces Chased Two on Wanted List

At least one man was shot dead and several injured on Thursday morning when Saudi security forces entered the town of Awwamiya in the Eastern Province to arrest two wanted men, local Shia news site Rasid said.

The site quoted activists who identified the man as Ahmed Ali al-Muslab, adding that he was shot after he tried to escape from security forces who attempted to arrest him.

Eyewitnesses told Rasid that security forces surrounded Awwamiya in order to arrest Mohammed al-Labbad and Fadhel al-Safwani, two activists who appear on a wanted list released by the Saudi government in January 2012 in connection with protests in Qatif.

The Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday afternoon that Hassan al-Mutlaq, who also appears on the list, has turned himself in to authorities. The Saudi state news agency quoted a security spokesman who said “the statutory procedures in these case will be applied.”

The eastern region of Qatif, home to Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, has witnessed intermittent clashes between security forces and protesters who rallied against what they say is discrimination by the government. Authorities deny that they discriminate against Shia citizens and describe the protests as isolated riots, accusing protesters of using violence and being involved in criminal activities.

Abbas al-Mazraa, another man on the wanted list, was arrested in late July.

UPDATE: According to Reuters, the “Saudi police denied any connection to the death of the young man and suggested it may be crime-linked.”