Riyadh: Two German diplomats escaped unharmed when gunmen attacked their car in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on Monday, the official SPA news agency said.

The agency quoted a police spokesman as saying shots were fired at a German diplomatic car near Awamiya in the region of Qatif, where most of the country’s Shiite Muslim community lives.

“The car was hit but its two occupants, German diplomats, escaped unharmed with the help of a Saudi citizen,” the agency added, citing the same source.

In Berlin, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that there was an incident during a drive out in the country. The car was shot at and it caught fire. There were no injuries. The embassy in Riyadh has launched an investigation.”

Authorities are seeking the gunmen, the agency added, without saying whether the incident was linked to unrest in Eastern Province.

Protests first erupted in the province, home to the majority of the kingdom’s Shiites, in March 2011.

Ten people were killed in clashes with security forces, and the fighting intensified after the arrest in July 2012 of Shaikh Nimr Al Nimr, considered to be a driving force behind the protests.

However, tensions eased in August that year when seven Shiite dignitaries from Qatif hailed a call by King Abdullah for the creation of a centre for Sunni-Shiite interfaith dialogue.