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Jun 25, 1:57 AM EDT

Saudi police officer killed in kingdom's Shiite east

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Authorities in Saudi Arabia say a police officer working on a traffic patrol has been shot dead in the kingdom's predominantly Shiite east amid continued unrest in neighboring Bahrain.

The Interior Ministry said the officer, identified as Faisal al-Harbi, was killed by unknown assailants early Friday morning in the city of Saihat. It said an investigation was ongoing.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom's Shiite east has been tense since the January execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. In recent weeks, an intensifying crackdown by the Sunni rulers of neighboring Bahrain has seen activists and Shiite leaders detained or forced into exile, exacerbating regional tensions.

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