Another policeman killed in eastern Saudi Arabia
QATIF - Another policeman has been killed during an upsurge of violence in a Shiite-dominated district of Saudi Arabia, official media said on Wednesday.
Gunfire broke out at about 7:30 pm (1630 GMT) Tuesday when police tried to stop a suspicious car near the central hospital in Qatif, on the Gulf coast, the interior ministry said in a statement.
Someone in the car started shooting, mortally wounding one of the officers, it said.
His colleagues stopped the suspects' car but they escaped "while shooting randomly" and then stole the car of a doctor to make their getaway, the ministry added.
Police found Molotov cocktails in the suspects' abandoned vehicle, which also had been stolen.
The dead policeman is the second Qatif officer shot dead in just over a week.
Another was gunned down on March 7 as he tried to leave a Qatif police station in his personal car.
Two days later a "terrorism" suspect was shot dead and a policeman wounded during a firefight in the Qatif area.
Last Saturday police said they came under fire while looking for suspects in the Shiite town of Awamiya.
They "responded as necessary," leading to the death of a teenager who was wanted, they said.
At least 10 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 Shiites live in the oil-rich east, where they have long complained of marginalisation in the Sunni-majority kingdom.
There has been periodic unrest since Shiite protests began in 2011 and developed into a call for equality.