US issues travel warning for Saudi’s Eastern Province

Two German diplomats were shot in Shia dominated region earlier this week

(Getty Images - Photo for illustrative purpose only)

(Getty Images - Photo for illustrative purpose only)

The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia has issued an advisory warning its citizens not to travel to the kingdom’s Eastern Province following a gun attack on two German diplomats.

The diplomats escaped the shooting earlier this week in the Qatif district unharmed, but the incident highlighted tension in an area where at least 20 people have died since 2011 as Shi'ite youths have taken to the streets to demand equal treatment from the Sunni dominated government.

Shia accuse Saudi authorities of persistent discrimination against them and say some protesters have been shot. The region is also home to a large proportion of Saudi’s substantial oil reserves.

“Regardless of where you are, it is always advisable to keep your security and situational awareness levels high,” the advisory from the US Embassy read. “Please follow these good personal security practices - avoid crowds or large gatherings when travelling in public, know where you are going and have a plan of what to do in the event you encounter demonstrations or violence.”

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