Skip to main content

Islamic State cell strikes Shiites in Saudi Arabia

A deadly attack by an Islamic State cell on Saudi Shiites has upped the ante in the jihadists' threat to the Saudi royal family as the guardians of Islam's most holy sites.
A member of the Saudi border guards force stands guard next to a fence on Saudi Arabia's northern borderline with Iraq July 14, 2014. Three mortar bombs landed inside Saudi Arabia last week close to its northern border with Iraq, where Islamist militants have grabbed land in a lightning advance, officials said. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3YMVB
Read in 

Saudi authorities have reported uncovering a large jihadist network working for the Islamic State (IS). The group was responsible for at least one sectarian attack on Saudi Shiites. At the same time, the kingdom is frustrated that the West is cooperating with Iran to fight IS in Iraq in an "unholy alliance" that Riyadh fears will ease Tehran's isolation.

The Saudi Interior Ministry reported Nov. 24 that three Saudi citizens and a Qatari linked to IS had carried out an attack on a Shiite village in the oil-rich Eastern province in early November. The attack killed nine Shiites and injured 13. The jihadist cell was tracked and all four members killed or arrested. At least two Saudi police officers died in the clashes involving multiple gunfights. Another 77 suspects with alleged links to the killers — including a Jordanian, a Turk and a Syrian — were arrested. The rest are Saudis. The Interior Ministry does not often defend Shiites' rights, but in this case, it had no choice given the IS connection.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.