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Suicide attack at Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia

A suicide bomber has attacked a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing and wounding several people. Around 150 worshippers were present in the mosque at the time of the explosion.

Several people were killed and many others injured after a suicide bomber struck at a mosque in al-Qadeeh in Saudi Arabia's eastern Qatif region Friday.

Saudi state news agency al-Arabiya confirmed the news, citing the interior ministry, but there were no immediate details on the number of casualties. An investigation has been ordered into the incident.

"We were doing the first part of the prayers when we heard the blast," eyewitness Kamal Jaafar Hassan told Reuters news agency.

According to the Wall Street Journal's Saudi Arabia correspondent, Ahmed al Omran, the Qatif bombing was the second within the past year in that region.

The Shiites, otherwise a minority in Saudi Arabia, have a strong presence in the Qatif region. Tensions have existed between Shiite residents, who protest against discrimination in the Sunni-dominated country, and the government. The monarchy adheres to orthodox Wahhabi Islam.

Riyadh has been harsh in suppressing dissent among the Shiites. Sectarian disagreements have also increased after Saudi planes began bombing Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

mg/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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