A Saudi child and a Pakistani man were killed and 10 injured when armed assailants fired at company workers carrying out a development project, then at bystanders and passers-by in Qatif in the Eastern Province. The ministry also called on the culprits to surrender themselves to the authorities. Saudi Arabia vehemently denies these claims. The aim was to obstruct the demolition of abandoned old houses in Al-Masoura district, which terrorists used as hideouts and dens for criminal activities including kidnapping and drug-peddling.
Residents and activists told Reuters on Wednesday that several people were injured during clashes between security forces who had entered the old part of the town known as Al-Musawara (the walled part) to secure the threatened construction workers.
The ministry praised people who cooperated with the security forces.
Early Saturday more gunfire sounded in the area, where authorities blocked roads, a resident said.
Awamiya has always been a flashpoint between the Sunni-led government and Shias complaining of discrimination. Tensions have increased since Nimr Al-Nimr, a radical Shia cleric convicted of inciting violence, was executed a year ago.
Saudi Shia complain of marginalisation in the birthplace of Islam, which follows the Wahhabi Sunni school that views the minority sect as heretical.