+++ Violence flares after Shiite cleric′s execution - live updates +++ | News | DW | 04.01.2016
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+++ Violence flares after Shiite cleric's execution - live updates +++

Deadly violence has been reported in Saudi Arabia and Iraq following Riyadh's execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Bahrain and the UAE have joined Riyadh in cutting diplomatic ties with Tehran. Read the latest here.

Saudi-Iran tensions have escalated since Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr's execution on Saturday, along with three other Shiites and 43 members of al Qaeda, who Saudi Arabia found guilty of terrorism. On Sunday morning, the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked by protesters, leading Riyadh to sever ties with Iran. On Monday, the war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensified and more violence was reported across the region.

Also read DW's Kersten Knipp's commentary: Tehran and Riyadh are two murderous theocracies.

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)

13:22 Sudan's foreign ministry said it is severing diplomatic relations with Iran. The announcement was carried by the African country's state news agency.

12:04 The United Arab Emirates (UAE) says it will downgrade its diplomatic ties with Iran, according to the state-run news agency WAM. The UAE will call its ambassador to Tehran home and cut the number of diplomats in the country, the agency reported on Monday.

''This exceptional step has been taken in the light of Iran's continuous interference in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states, which has reached unprecedented levels,'' a statement from the foreign ministry said.

11:19 France has echoed international calls for a de-escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

11:08 Bahrain is to follow Saudi Arabia and cut diplomatic ties with Tehran, the newspaper "al-Wasat" reported on Monday. Officials in Manama have demanded that Iranian diplomats leave the country within 48 hours.

11:00 Iran says it may stop sending pilgrims to the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia as relations between the two rivals worsen. Prominent Iranian MP Mohammed Ali Esfanani was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying, "When a country has cut diplomatic relations with us, it means it is hostile with us."

Saudi Arabien Botschaft Iran Protest

Demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the weekend

10:34 Germany has urged Saudi Arabia and Iran to "engage in dialogue" in light of the souring of diplomatic relations. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert warned that the executions have the potential to increase tension in the region.

10:12 The brother of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the Shiite cleric executed by Saudi Arabia on Saturday, has condemned retaliatory attacks across the region.

"We appreciate your love towards the martyr #Sheikh_AlNimr who lives in our hearts but we refuse attacks on #Saudi embassies in #Iran and others," tweeted Mohammed al-Nimr on Monday.

Earlier, he called for his brother's corpse to be handed over to his family so he could be buried in his hometown.

09:49 Russia is ready to act as an intermediary to help settle the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia, say Russian news agencies, citing a Foreign Ministry source.

Protestersin London

Protests were held outside the Saudi embassy in London

09:38 China says it's concerned about heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia following the weekend's events.

"We hope the relevant parties can maintain calm and restraint, properly resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Monday.

08:55 Nimr's brother Mohammed al-Nimr has told The Associated Press that Saudi officials have informed his family that the cleric had been buried in an undisclosed cemetery.

The news agency suggested the revelation could lead to further protests in his hometown on Monday.

08:23 AFP reports that further protests are expected in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, on Monday, which have been called by prominent cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr in the wake of the cleric's execution.

07:55 Reuters reports that Syrian rebel group Jaysh al Islam has welcomed Riyadh's severing of ties with Iran, saying that Tehran's backing of Shiite militias was destabilizing the Middle East and worsening tensions in Syria.

A Kashmiri Shiite Muslim man shouts slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016

Shiite Muslims also held protests in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir

The group's leader was killed in a December 26 airstrike blamed on the Syrian regime, which is backed by Iran.

07:14 Two Sunni mosques have been bombed in central Iraq, in apparent retaliation for cleric al-Nimr's killing.

AFP reports that groups of men wearing military uniforms bombed two mosques, and a muezzin - who leads prayers at a mosque - was shot dead near his home in Iskandariyah.

06:42 Iran's deputy foreign minister said Saudi Arabia cut relations with Tehran to cover up its own domestic problems.

In comments broadcast on state TV, Hossein Amir Abdollahian said the decision could not cover up Riyadh's "strategic mistake" in executing Nimr.

06:36 Oil prices rose in Asia on Monday morningas tensions worsened between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Brent crude for February was trading 91 cents, or 2.44 percent, higher at $38.19.

An Iraq mosque was bombed on Monday

Two mosques in central Iraq were bombed on Monday, apparently to protest the cleric's killing

06:24 Police in Saudi Arabia said they came under "heavy fire" during an attack on Sunday night in the eastern village of Awamiya, the birthplace of the cleric who was executed on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

One civilian was killed and an 8-year-old child was wounded during the incident in Awamiya town, in the oil-producing Eastern Province. Security forces are scouring the area for the assailants, SPA reported.

ls,mm/se (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)

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