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Five Shot Dead During Shiite Festival of Ashura in Saudi Arabia

'Gunmen Target Shia Worshippers in Saudi Arabian Mosque' 0:34

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Five people were shot dead and nine others injured in an attack during a festival observed by Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority on Tuesday, according to officials. Gunmen opened fire during Ashura in Al Dalwah village, ministry of interior spokesman Mansour Al Turki confirmed to NBC News.

The village is in the Shiite stronghold Al Ahsa district. Eyewitnesses told a local newspaper that three gunmen opened fire "on a group of citizens leaving a building" that they said was a Shiite place of worship. Ashura commemorates the death of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia vehemently denies discriminating against the country's Shiite population.

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- Lubna Hussain