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Father recalls tragic shooting of two-year-old toddler

Wrong car turn led family to site of shoot-out between police, terrorists

Manama: The father of Jawad, the two-year-old toddler who was killed by terrorists in Qatif in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, said that they were at the site after they lost their way going home.

The family members were on their way from Ihsa to Qatif when the father took the wrong turn and found himself in the middle of the shoot-out between the police and the terrorists.

"I was with my wife and our four children in the car and after leaving the town of Qadih, we found ourselves in a dark area," the father, Moayyad Al Dagher, said. "We were obviously lost and we were on our way out when we heard gunshots. I looked at the children on the back seats to ensure they were doing fine and I was shocked to discover that Jawad's small head had been heavily hit by the bullets. The back seat was covered with his blood. My wife, who was pregnant, collapsed when she saw what happened to Jawad. It was so horrible," he said in remarks published by Saudi daily Okaz on Sunday.

Attempts to rescue Jawad failed and the toddler died in front of his family, he added.

"We are all traumatised by what happened and by the tragic loss of our son," he said.

Jawad and a Pakistani expatriate were killed on Friday evening when armed assailants fired at company workers carrying out a development project and at bystanders and passers-by in Qatif, a spokesperson for police said.

The company’s heavy machines were also targeted by the attackers who hurled explosives in their bid to sabotage them and hamper the progress of the demolition of abandoned houses in the Masoura district, the spokesperson added.

He said that the houses were used by terrorists as hideouts and dens for their criminal activities that included murders, kidnappings, armed robbery, and trafficking in drugs, alcohol and weapons.

“When security forces arrived at the site to deal with the attacks, the terrorists fired indiscriminately and heavily at passers-by and security men, killing a two-year-old Saudi national and a Pakistani national,” the spokesperson said.

“Ten people, including six Saudis, were injured. A Saudi woman and her two children were also injured. The expatriates who needed medical treatment are two Pakistanis, one Sudanese and one Indian who is in critical condition. The four security personnel were slightly injured.”

Reports in Saudi Arabia said that the development project included the demolition of old houses and the construction of a shopping centre, restaurants, residential towers and a cultural centre.

The toddler was named as Jawad Al Dagher by Saudi news site Al Marsad. He was killed in front of his mother.

The Interior Ministry said the development project would go ahead as planned and that security forces would not allow acts of terror aiming to frighten people and to undermine peace.

In its statement, the ministry lauded the cooperation and support of the people and urged everyone to stay away from the project site and the roads leading to it for their own safety.

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