Gunman Killed 5 Shias in S. Arabia

Gunman Killed 5 Shias in S. ArabiaGunman Killed 5 Shias in S. Arabia

Five people have been killed and nine wounded in an attack on a Shia gathering hall in eastern Saudi Arabia, the interior ministry says.

The killings, in Saihat in Eastern Province on Friday, come two days after the start of Ashura commemorations, a holy occasion for Shia Muslims, BBC reported.

A group claiming links to Islamic State said it carried out the attack.

The interior ministry said a gunman opened fire at random before police intervened and shot the attacker dead.

Later, a group calling itself Islamic State-Bahrain State said one of its “soldiers” had attacked a Shia place of worship with an automatic weapon.

Correspondents say the name of the group appears to be a reference to the historic area of Bahrain, which once encompassed parts of what is now Saudi Arabia.

Other, smaller attacks against the Shia community in the east of Saudi Arabia were also reported on Friday evening.

The Shia community in the kingdom is increasingly being targeted. Most live in the oil-rich east and many complain of discrimination.

In May, IS said it had carried out a deadly bomb attack outside a Shia mosque in the city of Dammam.

That attack was the first to be claimed by a Saudi branch of IS.