Stray bullets killed one Indian and wounded three in Saudi Arabia during a security operation that killed a wanted Bahraini, an Indian community source said on Wednesday.
“Terrorist” suspect Ali Mahmoud Ali Abdullah was shot dead after he opened fire on officers sent to arrest him on Tuesday afternoon at a farm in the town of Awamiya, the interior ministry announced.
The Indian worker died and three others were wounded when “a few bullets entered the room” where they stayed, the Indian source said, asking for anonymity.
Two of the wounded suffered minor injuries but the third was apparently hit in the shoulder, the source added.
Ibrahim AlMugaiteeb, president of the Human Rights First Society-Saudi Arabia, said there was “very heavy” shooting in Awamiya on Tuesday.
“It was an exchange of fire,” he said from the surrounding district of Qatif.
AlMugaiteeb said he was aware of only one local resident lightly wounded, in addition to the killing of Abdullah.
On Tuesday evening, gunfire still sounded in the Gulf coast community where black smoke hung in the air from tyres burned in the streets by residents, a witness told AFP.
The interior ministry spokesman said an automatic weapon and a pistol were recovered from the slain suspect.
“Available evidence showed he participated in committing a number of terrorist crimes, destabilising security and public order in Qatif,” the spokesman said, referring to the Shiite-dominated region.
Interior ministry officials could not be immediately reached on Wednesday.
Awamiya, a town of about 30,000, has been the scene of repeated incidents since 2011.
A week of unrest including gunfire, tyre burning and explosions shook the town after the January 2 execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who hailed from Awamiya.
He was a driving force behind protests among minority Shiites that began in 2011. Those protests later developed into a call for equality in the Sunni-dominated kingdom, where Shiites complain of marginalisation.
After the protests started, police issued a list of 23 wanted people. Many suspects on that list have already been detained or killed in shootouts.
AlMugaiteeb said the suspect killed on Tuesday is a nephew of Salman al-Faraj “who is one of those most wanted by the Saudi government.”