Terror strike shocks nation
A cross-section of people including Shoura members, human rights activists and diplomats expressed their profound shock and dismay on Wednesday at the terror attack in Al-Ahsa and Al-Shaqra resulting in the death of citizens and security officials. Hoda Abdulrahman Al-Helaissi, a member of the Shoura Council, condemned, in the strongest terms possible, the cowardly terrorist attacks.
She offered her heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, while wishing speedy recovery to those wounded in the attacks. She called for “continued and coordinated efforts to prevent and combat the scourge of terrorism.” “These kinds of incidents are alien to the Saudi society, which has been exceptionally peaceful,” she added.
The attack happened late Monday evening in the village of Al-Dalwah, which is located in the country’s eastern Al-Ahsa region, and is a major oil-producing area that is also one of the main centers of the Shiite community. The attackers shot the victims with pistols and machine guns, according to officials. Authorities blamed the deadly attack on Al-Qaeda.
Hours after the attack, two Saudi policemen and two suspects linked to the incident died in a shootout in the Qassim region. Saudi officers have rounded up up to 20 suspects across several cities after the initial shooting in the Eastern Province. “They are followers of the deviant ideology,” Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said.
Referring to the cowardly act of terrorism, Ibrahim Al-Qayid, a member of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), said that “such a tragic incident had never been seen before in Saudi society, which is known for its tolerance, coexistence and peace that bring together different groups of people.”
“I appreciate the condemnation and call made by the grand mufti to the government and to the people to act against the menace of terrorism and to show solidarity.”
Former Shoura member and prominent businessman Saleh M. Alshuaibi said that “such a despicable act is alien to all human values and is in contradiction with all Islamic laws, which call for the protection of human lives.”
“This kind of unruly behavior is not acceptable,” he warned. “If someone has some differences, there are ways to solve them by talking and holding dialogue … but holding guns and killing innocent people are condemnable and disgusting,” said Alshuaibi.
“The Saudi society asserts its unwavering support to the Saudi government to take all necessary measures to deter the outlaws and preserve stability and security on its territories,” said Ahmed Al-Hassan, another businessman. On the shooting that has heightened concerns among the citizens and residents, Saudi academic Abdulaziz Al-Fadel said that it has been widely condemned by people from all walks of life.
“This is evident from the floods of opinion and comments being shared by people on social media networks since last night,” said Al-Fadel. In fact, Saudis sent more than 250,000 tweets discussing the incident. Local diplomats also condemned the shooting in strong terms. Palestinian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Basem A. Alagha expressed his sympathy for the families of the victims and said that “the incident was an act of terrorism meant to destabilize the Kingdom.”
Another diplomat from an Asian country, who preferred to remain anonymous, condemned the bloodshed and urged “collective action in confronting such cruel and inhumane acts.” He said: “The terror outfits operating in the Middle East as well as divisive forces are jealous of the Kingdom because of the safe and secure environment.”