Jeddah: Saudi security forces have killed eight people during an operation in Al Qatif region, state news agency (SPA) said on Saturday.
The Interior Ministry said security forces launched a raid against a suspected militant hideout on the island of Tarot off the coast of the kingdom’s Eastern Province, a region on the Arabian Gulf where most of the country’s oil reserves are located.
The operation occurred on Tarout island, just off the city of Qatif, and targeted a newly formed "terrorist cell", SPA said in a statement, adding there were no casualties among civilians or policemen.
The Interior Ministry said security forces only opened fire after they were shot at. It did not identify the militants and said an investigation was ongoing.
Videos posted on social media by residents of Tarot showed black smoke rising from residential buildings and the sound of heavy gunfire on Saturday.
Saudi security forces frequently target and clash with Shiite gunmen in the region of Qatif. Tensions have likely spiked in recent weeks after Saudi Arabia beheaded 37 men in a mass execution on April 23.