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IS suspect shot dead in Saudi Arabia

Saudi forces have raided another suspected IS militant hideout [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 March, 2017

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Saudi police have shot dead an 'IS supporter' brandishing a weapon in Riyadh, while an officer was killed in the country's troubled east

Saudi police have shot dead a suspected Islamic State group member, and an officer was gunned down in a separate incident, the interior ministry said Wednesday.

Officers were called at 6pm (3pm GMT) on Tuesday to an apartment in Riyadh's al-Rayan district where a suspect was "flaunting his support" for the IS extremist group, the interior ministry said in a statement.

"He started to resist and waved a gun which he was carrying," forcing police to eliminate "the threat he posed," the ministry added. Another suspect was arrested.

IS has claimed a series of deadly shootings and bombings since late 2014 in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.

Most attacks have targeted the Shia minority and security forces, killing dozens of people.

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called for attacks against the kingdom, a member of the US-led coalition battling the group in Syria and Iraq.

On 7 January, Saudi officers shot and killed two suspected jihadis including an explosive belt maker during a police operation in northern Riyadh.

Since last July police have arrested around 40 people, including Saudis and Pakistanis, for alleged extremist links.

Saudi Arabia's counter-terrorism capabilities - led by Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef - are well-regarded internationally.

Shortly before Tuesday's incident in Riyadh a policeman was killed in Shia-dominated Qatif, on the kingdom's Gulf coast, a separate ministry statement said.

In the late afternoon he was shot "from an unknown source" as he tried to leave a police station in his personal car, it said. The motive is being investigated.

At least nine policemen have now been shot dead since 2014 in the Qatif area, where police stations are guarded by unusually heavy security with concrete walls or protective barriers.

Most of Saudi Arabia's Shia live in the oil-rich east, where they have long complained of marginalisation.

There has been periodic unrest since Shia protests began in 2011 and developed into a call for equality.

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