Saudi Arabia Sentences Seven Islamist Militants to Death Over Killings of Shi’ites

September 2, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

RIYADH—A Saudi court has sentenced seven Islamic State militants to death over a 2014 shooting attack that killed eight Shi’ite Muslims near the eastern city of al-Ahsa, state television reported on Wednesday.

In November 2014, three suspected members of the Sunni Muslim jihadist group opened fire on Shi’ites who were celebrating Ashura, a holy festival in their calendar, in the village of Dalwa, killing eight people there.

Seven defendants were sentenced to death after their conviction while three others were handed 25-year jail terms each, the Ekhbariya channel said on Twitter.

Sunni militants have carried out many shootings and bombings in Saudi Arabia since 2014, soon after the then-Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, summoned Saudi supporters to mount attacks at home instead of abroad in wars in Syria and Iraq.

Most of the attacks targeted minority Saudi Shi’ites or state security officers, and were carried out by people who had sworn allegiance to Islamic State or were claimed by the militant group in online postings, Saudi authorities said.

Saudi Arabia had earlier barred its citizens from going to wage jihad (holy war) abroad, used its Sunni clergy to denounce Islamic State, imposed prison terms for supporting the group, and joined U.S.-led airstrikes against IS in Syria.