Police were reportedly shot in the home village of executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose death sparked international outrage, especially in Shiite majority countries and communities like Iran and Iraq.
Saudi Arabia’s official state news agency, SPA, reported that security forces were searching for the attackers in the oil-producing and mostly Shiite Awamiya town, saying the perpetrators carried out "terrorist actions." But Iran announced that the incident would not distract from the execution of al-Nimr, and 46 others who were beheaded by Saudi officials.
Majority-Shiite Iran has been particularly vocal in condemning the execution of the cleric, after widespread protests broke out across the country, leading to the burning of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran by protesters who stormed the building.
Earlier on Sunday, Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Iran, giving their diplomats 48 hours to leave the country over the execution incident.
Elsewhere in the region, amid fears of increased sectarian tensions, two Sunni mosques in Iraq were bombed by unknown assailants.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned Saudi Arabia harshly for the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr, describing the late cleric as a peaceful "martyr," and predicted "divine vengeance" for the execution of al-Nimr, an outspoken opponent of the ruling Al Saud family.
Speaking on Iranian state television, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Tehran's first response that by cutting diplomatic ties, Riyadh could not cover up "its major mistake of executing Sheikh Nimr."
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani condemned the execution as "inhuman," but also urged the prosecution of "extremist individuals" for attacking the embassy and the Saudi consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad, state media reported.
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