Crime & Justice

Saudi court sentences 7 to death for 2014 ISIS-linked killings



Saudi Shia Muslim worshippers attend a mourning ritual commemorating the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Muharram in Qatif city in the Eastern Province on August 29th. [AFP]

A Saudi court Wednesday (September 2nd) sentenced seven people to death and three others to 25 years in jail for a 2014 attack in the Shia-populated east, state media said.

Gunmen shot dead seven people, including children, in the town of al-Dalwa in November 2014 during the commemoration of Ashura, one of the holiest occasions for Shia Muslims.

The court issued "a preliminary verdict against those accused of the terrorist operation", Al-Ekhbariya Television reported.

Two suspects are yet to be sentenced, the report said. The court ruling can be appealed.

The assailants were linked to the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), Saudi authorities said at the time.

The 2014 assault was the bloodiest since a series of attacks between 2003 and 2006 by Sunni extremists against Westerners and government targets.

Since the killings in late 2014, ISIS has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks against the kingdom's minority Shia, whom the extremists consider heretics.

Most of the attacks were staged in oil-rich Eastern Province, home to the majority of Shia in the country.

In May 2015, 21 people were killed by a bombing in a Shia mosque in Eastern Province.

Months later, in October 2015, a gunman killed five people marking Ashura in the Qatif area, before police shot him dead.

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