UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia blames unrest in east on foreign country

Tue Oct 4, 2011 9:36pm IST

(Adds details)

DUBAI Oct 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that clashes on Monday night that injured 14 people in its oil-rich Eastern province, home to a large Shi'ite population, were the work of an unnamed foreign power, usually code for its rival Iran.

Oil traders said the news helped Brent oil prices LCOc1 pare some of the earlier losses on Tuesday with November contracts rising by around $1 to above $101 per barrel.

Protests in the region in March, inspired in part by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, had sent global oil markets reeling.

The area is home to more than 2 million Shi'ites, some of whom have called for better access to jobs and to be treated as equals in the ultraconservative kingdom dominated by a rigid form of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism.

"A group of troublemakers... assembled... some on motorbikes and carrying petrol bombs as they began their actions to disrupt security at the behest of a foreign country which tried to undermine the security of the homeland in a blatant act of interference," an Interior Ministry statement said.

The mention of a foreign country meddling in local affairs is usually a coded reference to Iran, the Shi'ite power and Saudi rival across Gulf waters.

Of the total injured, 11 were security personnel and three were civilians, the ministry statement said.

Qatif, a Shi'ite stronghold on the Gulf coast, and nearby Awwamiya, are in the east which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter and is near Bahrain, scene of protests by majority Shi'ites against their Sunni rulers.

Police came under gunfire as they tried to disperse the crowd. Nine policemen were shot and wounded and two hurt by petrol bombs, the statement said. It also said one man and two women were injured by gunfire. (Reporting by Firouz Sedarat and Angus McDowall; Writing by Reed Stevenson)

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

DEFENCE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Power Theft

Power Theft

India to invest $4 billion to tackle power theft  Full Article 

Debt Funds

Debt Funds

India monitors foreign flows into debt funds, may tighten rules  Full Article 

Bulgari Back in India

Bulgari Back in India

CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back  Full Article 

 Hindu "Modi-fication"

Hindu "Modi-fication"

Fears grow about Hindu "Modi-fication" of education  Full Article 

Weak Credit

Weak Credit

Hard to hit tax revenue target, credit weak - Jaitley  Full Article 

China Rate Cut

China Rate Cut

China surprises with interest rate cut to spur growth  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

RBI cautious on response to gold import surge  Full Article 

Economic Corridor

Economic Corridor

China commits $45.6 billion for economic corridor with Pakistan  Full Article 

Overseas Funds

Overseas Funds

RBI says overseas borrowed funds can be parked with banks in India  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage