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Saudi Arabia blames al-Qaeda for attack on Shia mourners

Saudi authorities have accused al-Qaeda militants for a recent attack against a group of Shia Muslims participating in a ceremony marking the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam, in Eastern Province.

Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman, General Mansur al-Turki, told media on Wednesday that the attackers were “followers of the deviant ideology,” a term often used in Saudi Arabia to describe al-Qaeda.

On November 3, masked gunmen stormed a mourning procession for Imam Hussein (PBUH) in the village of al-Dalwah in al-Ahsa Governorate of Eastern Province, and opened fire as people were observing Ashura, the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram.

Eight Shia mourners, including children, were killed and a dozen others sustained injuries in the terrorist attack.

The attack on Shia mourners in Dalwah comes as Saudi officials themselves show zero tolerance toward anti-government demonstrations in the oil-rich kingdom, and have harshly cracked down on such protests.

International human rights organizations have criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to address the rights situation in the kingdom. They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

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