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Country profile for Saudi Arabia

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

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Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Amber (Moderate Risk)
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

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Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Major Languages: Arabic
  • Currency: Saudi Riyal
  • Timezone: GMT +3:00

Country Map

Map of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is currently facing a number or regional and internal challenges. Since March, 2015 the Saudi government has led a coalition of Arab states in ‘Operation Decisive Storm’, a military intervention against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen. The coalition launched airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in an attempt to restore the government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia seeking support. In response to the intervention, Houthi fighters have carried out dozens of cross-border rocket attacks in the southern Jizan, Asir and Najran provinces. Dozens of civilians and military personnel have been killed or wounded by the clashes, and all non-essential travel to the southern border should be avoided.

The conflict in Yemen has exacerbated tensions between Saudi Arabia and its main Gulf rival, Iran. The Iranian government has been accused of supporting and funding the Houthis rebels, who follow an offshoot of Shia Islam. The political and sectarian rivalry was further inflamed when the Saudi government beheaded Nimr al-Nimr, a leading Shia cleric, in January, 2016. Protesters attacked the Saudi diplomatic mission in the Iranian capital, Tehran, which led to the Saudis and several Gulf allies cutting official ties with Iran. In Saudi Arabia an attack on an intelligence building in Qatif was linked to the execution of al-Nimr, while there have been sporadic anti-government protests across the Eastern Province, where the majority to the country’s minority Shia population lives. The increasing sectarian tensions have also led to attacks on Shias in the region, including a shooting at a mosque in Mahasen in January, 2016.

There is a high threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia, a country with a long history of Islamic extremism. The country’s branch of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism, has been credited with inspiring various radical jihadist and takfirist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS). However, the current government has taken measures to tackle the threat from militant groups. In December, 2015 Saudi Arabia formed a military alliance of 34 countries in a bid to fight terrorism, while Saudi jets have been carrying out airstrikes against IS in Syria since 2014. In response IS has carried out a number of attacks inside the Kingdom, with an estimated 50 people killed in IS-linked attacks in 2015. Visitors to the kingdom should be wary of the threat of terrorism, particularly around government buildings, Western or tourist areas and Shia mosques.

Falling oil prices have put significant pressure on the Saudi economy and highlighted the need for diversification. Muhammad bin Salman, the deputy crown prince and minister of defence, has pledged to push forward economic and social reforms which aim at ending his country’s dependence on oil, which accounts for around 80 percent of government revenues. The prince’s National Transformation Project 2020 will result in a reduction of government subsidies, the introduction of a five percent sales tax and the sale of state-owned land and stakes in state assets (such as oil giant Aramco). At the same time the country is faced with a young and rapidly growing population, with two-thirds under the age of 30. Around 29 percent of under-30s are unemployed, and many lack the skills suited to the private-sector jobs Saudi Arabia is aiming to create. Although unlikely in the short-term, the economic transition has the potential to spark civil unrest and wider discontent with the government.

Visitors to Saudi Arabia should be aware of the local cultural, religious and legal traditions prior to arriving in the country. Laws regarding alcohol, drugs and sexuality are particularly severe, while proselytising is strictly forbidden. In 2015 a UK national was jailed and sentenced to 350 lashes for making homemade wine in Jeddah, although he was eventually released following pressure from the UK government. Criticism of the government is also likely to lead to imprisonment and corporal punishment, while human rights groups reported more than 150 beheadings for various offences in 2015. Due to the strict nature of law and order crime rates in the country remain low.

 

Alerts for Saudi Arabia

One dead in Jeddah shooting

A man has been killed and a police officer wounded in a shooting in the city of Jeddah. Makkah regional police said the incident occurred when officers went to arrest a man on drug and weapons charges on Sunday evening in the Al-Marwa district. He opened fire on the police, who returned fire and killed him.

Amnesty International accuses Saudis of torture

Amnesty International claims that activists arrested in Saudi Arabia are subject to torture and sexual assault. The activists include at least 10 women and seven men detained since May and who have been held at Dhahban prison. "Only a few weeks after the ruthless killing of Jamal Khashoggi, these shocking reports of torture, sexual harassment and other forms of ill-treatment, if verified, expose further outrageous human rights violations by the Saudi authorities," Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's Middle East research director, said. Saudi Arabia has not commented on the allegations.

Senior prosecutor seeks death penalty over Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia's Attorney General is seeking the death penalty for five suspects accused of killing journalists Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saud al-Mojeb said the five men dismembered Khashoggi after "talks with him failed" on 2 October. He also said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was not implicated in the killing, despite suggestions by Turkey that the Saudi's defacto leader approved the act.

Saudi journalist dies in custody

A prominent Saudi journalist has died in custody, according to reports. The New Khaleej said Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Jasser had been tortured by the security forces after he was arrested in March. He was accused of highlighting rights abuses committed by the Saudi authorities via a social media account. The news comes after the Saudi government admitted that self-exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Erdogan claims Khashoggi murder planned in advance

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Saudi Arabia of planning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Addressing MPs on Tuesday, Erdogan said there was strong evidence that the premeditated murder was carried out in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. "Why was the consulate not opened to investigators immediately? Why were so many different statements given by Saudis? Who is the local collaborator who disposed of Khashoggi’s body? Saudi must answer all these questions," said Erdogan. Separate media sources are reporting that Khashoggi's body has been found in a well on the grounds of the consulate, although Turkish officials have not confirmed these claims.

Saudi admits journalist was murdered

Saudi Arabia has admitted that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside their consulate in Istanbul. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Khashoggi was killed in a "rogue operation" in a statement but denied reports that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind it. So far 18 people have been arrested in the kingdom and two senior aides to MBS have been fired. US President Donald Trump said there had been "deception" and "lies" in the Saudi explanation, while the UK, France and Germany issued a joint statement, stating: "Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms."

Qatar NGO demands release of four citizens in Saudi Arabia

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has demanded the release of four of its citizens who disappeared in Saudi Arabia. The NGRC said it had "grave concerns" about the group and said it held the Saudi government responsible for their fate. "What the Saudi authorities are doing towards Qatari nationals is shameful and inhumane," said NHRC chairman Ali bin Samikh al-Marri. "It will leave a major psychological mark on future generations." In June 2017 Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism across the Middle East.

Turkish officials claim evidence of Khashoggi's killing

Turkish officials have told the Washington Post that it has audio and video evidence that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. "The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered," said an anonymous security source. "You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic. You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured, and then murdered." Meanwhile, several media companies have announced that they are pulling out of a Saudi investment conference due to the reports of Khashoggi's murder, and British billionaire Richard Branson said he has suspended talks with the kingdom's Public Investment Fund.

Turkey claims missing Saudi writer was murdered

Turkish officials have claimed that the missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate. Khashoggi has not been seen since visiting the consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday, which initially sparked rumours that he had been detained for his criticism of the Saudi government. Over the weekend an official from the ruling AK Party told local media that there was concrete evidence that he was killed. Saudi Arabia has strongly denied the "baseless" allegations and claimed to be "working to search for him." Hundreds of people gathered outside the consulate on Monday to demand information regarding Khashoggi's whereabouts.

Saudi journalist goes missing in Istanbul

A senior Saudi journalist has gone missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Jamal Khashoggi, a strong critic of the Saudi government who lives in the US, went to complete paperwork but hasn't been seen since. "We don't know if he is being detained, questioned or when he will be released," said the Washington Post, who Khashoggi worked for.

Saudi economist charged with treason

A Saudi economist who criticised the planned Aramco IPO has been charged with treason. Saudi's public prosecutor said the unnamed individual faces charges of joining the banned Muslim Brotherhood, communicating with Qatar and inciting unrest in the kingdom. LQST, a London-based Saudi rights group, named the suspect as Essam al-Zamil during an interview with al-Jazeera. The public listing of Saudi Aramco has been delayed until 2019, with the government seeking to sell five percent of the company to fund economic reforms.

Navy intercepts booby-trapped boats near Jizan

The Royal Saudi Arabian Navy (RAF) has intercepted two explosive-laden boats near the port city of Jizan. In a statement, the military said the remote-controlled boats were spotted and destroyed on Sunday. Houthi rebels regularly fire rockets into southern Saudi Arabia and the group are suspected of being behind the latest attack.

Three men killed by security forces in Qatif

Three men wanted by the Saudi authorities have been killed by the security forces. Mohammed Hassan Ahmed Al-Zayed, Mufeed Hamza Ali Ulwan, and Khalil Ibrahim Hassan Al-Muslim were shot after they opened fire on the security forces in Qatif on Thursday. “The suspects started shooting at security personnel after they surrounded the area and called on them to surrender," a spokesman for the Presidency of State Security said. "They endangered the safety of residents and passersby."

Holy cities linked by high-speed railway

The holy cities of Mecca and Medina will be linked by a new high-speed railway, which cost $16bn. The 450km Haramain High-Speed railway was built to ease congestion for the millions of Muslim pilgrims who visit the holy cities. "The journey between the Haramain (two holy mosques) is now shorter and easier than at any time before," said Transport Minister Nabil al-Amoudi.

Air defense forces intercept Houthi missile

The Saudi air defense forces have intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthi rebel group from northern Yemen. At least 26 people were wounded by shrapnel from the blast in Najran, according to the Saudi civil defense. The Houthis claimed to have fired the missile at a Saudi National Guard camp, days after rockets were fired at the south-western Jizan province.

Houthi rebels target Aramco site in Jizan

Houthi rebels from Yemen have fired rockets at Saudi Aramco facilities in the southern Jizan region. A Houthi official told the al-Masirah television network that the short-range Badr-1 missiles hit a refinery and a petrochemical site on Tuesday evening. In response, Saudi officials claimed that rockets fired from Saada province in Yemen had been intercepted. “The Saudi Royal Air Defense Force succeeded in intercepting and destroying the missile, which did not result in any injuries,” said Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

Seven wounded by Houthi rocket fire

At least seven people have been wounded by Houthi rocket fire in the southern province of Najran. The Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted the ballistic missile, which was fired towards al-Shourfa. “At 7.50 p.m. the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces spotted the launch of the missile heading toward Najran and successfully intercepted and destroyed it. There are two Saudi women, two Bangladeshis and one Indian among the injured," said Col. Turki Al-Maliki in a statement.

Saudi-UAE accused of possible war crimes

The Saudi-UAE coalition has been accused of committing possible war crimes during the conflict in Yemen. The UN said there was "little evidence of any attempt ... to minimise civilian casualties." during a report published on Tuesday. “Coalition air strikes have caused most of the documented civilian casualties. In the past three years, such air strikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities,” the panel said. The UN estimates that 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the start of the conflict, although the actual death toll is likely much higher.

Five Saudi soldiers killed in Najran ambush

Five Saudi soldiers have been killed in an ambush in the southern Najran province. Suspected Houthi rebels carried out the attack near al-Hjalah. There was no confirmation of the incident by the Saudi military.

Prosecutor requests death penalty for activists

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five human rights activists, according to rights groups. The accused include Israa al-Ghomgham, a Shia arrested alongside her husband in 2015. “Any execution is appalling, but seeking the death penalty for activists like Israa al-Ghomgham, who are not even accused of violent behaviour, is monstrous,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW. They are due to appear in court again on 28 October.

Suicide bomber shot by security forces

A suspected suicide bomber has been shot and wounded by the security forces in the city of Al-Bukayriyah. The Interior Ministry said the suspect, who had “adopted Islamic State ideology,” was cornered and opened fire on officers before he was shot.

Saudi defences intercept Houthi missile

Saudi defence systems have intercepted a Houthi missile in the southern Najran region. The state-run Al-Ekhbariya television channel said it was the fourth missile fired from Yemen in the last three days. The other devices were intercepted in the nearby Jizan province. No injuries or damage were reported.

Canadian ambassador expelled over diplomatic row

Saudi Arabia has expelled the Canadian ambassador, Dennis Horak, due to "interference" in the country's internal affairs. The row comes after Canada said it was "gravely concerned" about the arrest of several human rights activists, including Samar Badawi. Saudi's foreign ministry said Canada's statement was an "attack", adding that it will also freeze all new trade deals and recall the Saudi envoy in Canada.

Four soldiers killed in Houthi attack

At least four Saudi soldiers have been killed after Houthi rebels attacked a couple of military bases. The coordinated attacks were carried out overnight in the Jazan and Najran regions. According to reports, the bases attacked have been identified as the al-Ojabah base in Jazan and the al-Soh base in Najran. It's believed the attackers used mortars to fire explosives at the bases.

Defence ministry official arrested over bribery claims

An official from the defence ministry has been arrested on bribery charges. The suspect was detained after he was accused of accepting a bribe of 1 million riyals ($267k). “The official sought to facilitate irregular procedures for the disbursement of financial dues to a company, taking advantage of his professional influence,” said Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mujib.

Two killed in attack on checkpoint

A security officer and a Bangladeshi national have been killed in a drive-by shooting in central Saudi Arabia. "A security checkpoint on the Buraydah-Tarfiyah road in Qassim region came under fire from three terrorists riding in a vehicle on Sunday afternoon," the interior ministry said in a statement. Two of the assailants were also killed and a third wounded during the exchange.

Two missiles intercepted over Riyadh

Two missiles fired by the Houthi rebel group have been intercepted over the Saudi capital, Riyadh. "Saudi Royal Air Defence Forces intercepted and destroyed the missiles. Some of the debris of the intercepted missiles landed on residential areas, thankfully without causing any casualties," coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said in a statement. The Houthis said it would continue firing Burkan missiles at Saudi targets while coalition forces continue their military operations in Yemen. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Gunmen attack military base in Taif

Two assailants have killed a police officer before opening fire on a military base in the western city of Taif. The officer was managing traffic on the Army road when he was stabbed to death by the two assailants, who stole his weapon and vehicle. They then headed to a National Guard facility and opened fire, wounding several troops.

Two soldiers killed in Yemen border clashes

Two Saudi soldiers have been killed in clashes at the border with Yemen. Officials in Riyadh confirmed that the troops died "during their participation on the southern border” on Saturday. In a separate incident, Saudi air defences intercepted a Houthi drone which was targeting an airport in Abha. 

Missile intercepted over Najran

A ballistic missile has reportedly been intercepted by the Saudi air defence forces over the southern city of Najran. It's believed the missile was fired by Houthi rebels residing in a neighbouring area.

Three activists arrested in Saudi Arabia

Three women's rights activists have been arrested in Saudi Arabia, following the arrest of seven people at the weekend. The government said they were detained for having suspicious contacts with foreign entities. International rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned the arrests. "Despite international outcry and calls for the release of these activists, they still remain detained for their peaceful human rights work," said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East director of campaigns.

Flight makes emergency landing at Jeddah airport

A Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) flight has made an emergency landing at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport. At least 50 passengers suffered minor injuries when flight SV3818 suffered a technical malfunction during the flight from Medina to Dhaka. A Saudia spokesman said a problem with the hydraulic system meant that the front wheels could not be lowered. "After several attempts, they decided to land without taking down the front wheels after taking all necessary precautions," said Abdulrahman al-Tayeb.

Saudis intercept Houthi missile near Jizan

The Saudi military has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen at the southern city of Jizan. The Houthis had earlier announced that they had fired a rocket at the King Faisal military base. No casualties have been reported.

Houthi missiles intercepted near Riyadh

The Saudi air force has intercepted a ballistic missile launched from neighbouring Yemen. Four loud blasts have been reported near the Saudi capital, Riyadh, hours after another missile was intercepted near Jizan. Yemen's Houthi militia said it fired missiles at “economic targets” during a statement on the al-Masirah TV station.

Four tourists killed in Mecca bus crash

Four tourists have reportedly been killed and at least 12 others have been wounded after a tourist bus crashed near Mecca over the weekend. The accident happened on Saturday near the town of Al Khalas on the outskirts of Mecca, where a fuel tanker allegedly collided with the bus before catching fire. Both vehicles were severely burnt. The BBC has confirmed that the four tourists killed have been identified as British nationals. The bus had been travelling from Mecca to Medina as part of an Umrah pilgrimage.

Air defences intercept Houthi missile

Saudi air defence forces have shot down Houthi ballistic missiles near the border city of Najran. A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, Col. Turki al-Maliki, said the Houthis have fired a total of 119 missiles across the border. Earlier this week an air defence system intercepted two Houthi missiles near the Yemeni city of Mokha.

Four Saudi soldiers killed near Yemen border

Four Saudi soldiers have been killed near the border with Yemen. The official news agency said the troops were killed while "performing their patriotic duty," without providing further details. The Houthi rebel group have carried out multiple cross-border attacks in response to the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

Saudis shoot down Houthi missiles

Saudi Arabia has shot down seven missiles launched at the kingdom by Houthi rebels in the neighbouring state of Yemen. One person died when part of the missile landed in a suburb of the capital, Riyadh. Saudi authorities have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missiles to the Houthis. "This aggressive and hostile action by the Iran-backed Houthi group proves that the Iranian regime continues to support the armed group with military capabilities," said coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki.

Saudi Arabia will match Iran's nuclear programme

Saudi Arabia has warned that it will develop its own nuclear weapon programme if Iran builds one. In an interview with US media, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said he hoped his country would not have to become a nuclear power. "But without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we would follow suit as soon as possible," he added. The prince also compared Iran's supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to Adolf Hitler. "He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler, who wanted to expand at the time," the prince told CBS.

Avian flu recorded in Qassim

A new case of the H5N8 avian flu has been recorded in the Qassim region of Saudi Arabia. Last month the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture introduced a temporary ban on the import of birds and eggs from India following an outbreak of the disease. That followed a similar ban on the import of poultry from other countries last year, including Bulgaria.

Qatari royal claims Gulf crisis plot

A member of the Qatari royal family has accused the UAE and Saudi Arabia of orchestrating the Gulf crisis in an attempt to seize his country's wealth. Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani said: "The [Gulf] crisis is based on interests and the desire of both Mohammed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Salman to usurp the wealth and riches of Qatar." In a leaked audio recording Thani also threatened to commit suicide due to the pressure he had been placed under by UAE and the Saudis.

Three Saudi troops killed near Yemen border

Three Saudi soldiers have been killed in clashes with Houthi fighters near the border with Yemen. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the troops died in the southern province of Jizan on Thursday. No further details about the incident were released.

Saudis shoot down missile from Yemen

The Saudi security forces have intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the southern Jizan region. State media Ekhbariya said there were no reports of casualties or damage from the attack. The Houthi rebel group have fired multiple cross-border rockets at targets in Saudi Arabia and are suspected of being behind the latest strike.

Saudi plane crashes in Yemen

A Saudi-led coalition warplane has crashed in northern Yemen. In a statement, the coalition said the UK-made Tornado came down in Saada province due to a technical failure, adding that both pilots managed to escape. Houthi-run media claimed that rebels had shot down the jet.

Saudis intercept Houthi missile near border

Saudi Arabia has intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile near the border. State-owned TV said the security forces intercepted the missile in the southern Najran region. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack via the Al Masirah network. The Houthis said it had carried out a "successful launch of a short-range ballistic missile at a military target in Saudi Arabia".

Houthis fire missile at Riyadh

The Houthi rebel group have fired another missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The Burkan-2 missile, which appeared to target a royal palace, was shot down by the Saudi military before it exploded. The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the missile "bears all the hallmarks of previous attacks using Iranian-provided weapons". Pro-Houthi media said the attack was carried out "in response to the heinous crimes committed by the US-Saudi aggression against the people of Yemen".

Pardon offered to detained officials

The 159 prominent Saudi figures currently detained in an anti-corruption drive have been offered a pardon after agreeing on settlements with the government. The group, including princes, ministers and businessmen, have been held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the capital, Riyadh, since last month. Last week Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was released after agreeing to pay more than $1bn to authorities.

UAE and Saudis form new partnership

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have agreed a military and trade partnership outside of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The UAE foreign ministry said the committee "is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries." The GCC - which includes Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman - has been under threat since the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.

Saudis intercept Yemeni missile

Saudi Arabia has intercepted a missile fired from across the border in Yemen. Royal Air Force spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said the missile was heading towards the city of Khamis Mushait. Earlier this month the Houthi rebel group fired a ballistic missile which landed near Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport.

Saudi prince released after corruption probe

A senior Saudi prince has been released, three weeks after he was arrested as part of a government crackdown on alleged corruption. According to reports, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah has agreed to pay more than $1bn to the Saudi government. Three more of the 200 plus suspects detained on 4 November has also reached a settlement with the government. Authorities believe more than $100bn could eventually be recovered in the operation.

Two dead in Jeddah flooding

Two people have been killed in flooding in the Saudi city of Jeddah. Heavy rain fell on Tuesday, forcing schools and universities to close "for the safety of students", according to Jeddah Education. The Jeddah Health Affairs said it had received 29 emergency calls, most of which were for electrocution or road traffic accidents. Further heavy rain is forecast in Jeddah and across Makkah through to Thursday.

Saudi Arabia advises citizens to leave Lebanon

Saudi Arabia has advised its citizens against travel to Lebanon and urged Saudis already in the country to leave. "Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon, the official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible," read the statement issued via the SPA news agency. The warning comes amid an increasing diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which escalated when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a trip to Riyadh, citing Iran's collusion with Hezbollah and fears over his safety.

Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash

A high-ranking Saudi prince and several Saudi officials have been killed in a helicopter crash. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin Al Saud, deputy governor of Asir province, was on a tour when the helicopter came down near Abha on Sunday evening. The cause of the crash is unknown and an investigation is underway.

Yemeni missile intercepted near Riyadh

A missile fired from Yemen was intercepted near the Saudi capital, Riyadh, over the weekend. A large explosion was heard near Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport on Saturday evening. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of being behind the "act of war" via its proxies in Yemen. "Iran's role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighbouring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally," the SPA news agency said.

Saudi Arabia launches new cyber security authority

The Saudi government has launched a new cybersecurity authority, according to a royal decree. The National Authority for Cyber Security will be made up of the head of state security, the head of intelligence, the deputy interior minister and assistant to the minister of defence, according to the SPA news agency. The new commission will "boost the cybersecurity of the state and protect its vital interests, national security and sensitive infrastructure,” said the SPA.

Saudi Arabian Airlines to resume flights to Iraq

The state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines is set to resume regular flight services to Iraq. The airline has not operated regular flights to the country in 27 years since the former Iraqi president invaded Kuwait. The resumption of flights comes shortly after the Saudi government established a joint trade commission with Iraq earlier this month. Plans to open up the crossing over the Arar land border separating the two countries are also underway. According to Reuters, the director general of Saudian Arabian Airlines is expected to travel on the first flight between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Baghdad, Iraq - scheduled for Sunday 05 November.

Crown prince promises major reforms

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has promised to undertake major reforms in the country, including tackling extremism. Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said: "What we were before - a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world". The prince also announced plans for a $500bn 'mega city' on the Red Sea coast, named NEOM.

Yemeni missile hits Jizan region, Saudia Arabia

A ballistic missile has hit the south-western Jizan region in Saudi Arabia after being fired from Yemeni-held territory. According to reports, the missile - a Qaher-2 ballistic missile - struck Saudi Arabian territory near the border in Jizan. No further details have been confirmed and no casualty figures have been released. A civil war has been ongoing in Yemen for the last two years, with the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi seeking to defeat the military-backed Houthi Shia movement loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. 

Two guards killed in Jeddah palace attack

Two security guards have been killed and three others wounded in a shooting in the Saudi city of Jeddah. A 28-year-old Saudi national opened fire on the Al Salam palace before he was shot dead by guards. The motive for the attack is being investigated, including potential links between the assailants and Islamic State (IS).

Five Houthi commanders killed in Saudi-led airstrikes

Five Houthi commanders have been killed in Saudi-led airstrikes in northern Yemen. In a statement, the Yemeni army said the strikes hit targets in Harad in the north-west Hajjah province. The Houthi rebel group have not commented on the reports.

Saudi Arabia ends women driving ban

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued a decree allowing women in the kingdom to drive for the first time. A committee of ministers has been set up to oversee the implementation of the order, which will be finalised in June 2018. The move was largely welcomed by activists in the country, while others highlight the various other human rights abuses still committed by the state.

Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missile

Saudi Arabia has intercepted a missile allegedly fired by the Houthi rebel group in Yemen. The ballistic missile was heading for a Saudi-led coalition airbase at Khamis Mushait when it was destroyed. No damage or casualties were reported.

Clerics arrested in government crackdown

The government in Saudi Arabia has arrested more than 20 clerics and intellectuals in a crackdown on dissent in the kingdom. Activists say Salman al-Odah and Awad al-Qarni are among those detained since the weekend. State media said a number of individuals were operating on behalf of "foreign parties against the security of the kingdom." 

Saudi border with Iraq to reopen after 27 years

Saudi Arabia is set to reopen its border with Iraq after 27 years. The Arar crossing was closed when the two countries cut ties after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. The governor of Iraq's Anbar province, Sohaib al-Rawi, said it was a "significant move" to boost ties between the two states.

Hundreds displaced by clearing operation in Awamiya

Hundreds of people have been forced to flee the town of Awamiya in eastern Saudi Arabia due clashes between the security forces and gunmen. Several people have been killed in the recent unrest, including two Saudi police officers. Saudi officials claim they are trying to clear the old quarter of the town (al-Mosawara) from Shia militants, while activists claim troops are trying to force residents out of the town so that they can demolish it as part of a new development project.

Police officer killed in Qatif bombing

A Saudi police officer has been killed and six others wounded in a bombing in the Qatif governorate in the Eastern Province. The device exploded in the al-Mosawara quarter, according to a statement released by the interior ministry on Sunday evening. There have been a number of attacks on the security forces in Qatif in recent months, which have linked to opposition to the al-Mosawara construction project.

Saudi soldiers killed by landmine in Asir

A Saudi soldier has been killed by a landmine in the border city of Asir.  The incident happened on Sunday morning when troops were on patrol. Meanwhile, Houthi rebels have fired Burkan-2 missiles at Saudi oil refineries in Yanbu province.

Woman arrested over miniskirt video

A Saudi woman has been arrested after she appeared in a video wearing a miniskirt in public.  State TV station Al Ekhbariya said the woman was detained for "wearing suggestive clothing" and had been referred to the public prosecutor. The country legally requires women to cover themselves while in public by wearing an abaya, a loose-fitting cloak. Women are also banned from driving and must be accompanied by a male relative when in public.

Eleven dead in Saudi Arabia fire

Eleven foreign workers have been killed in a fire in the south-western city of Najran.  Ten Indians and a Bangladeshi national died and six other workers were injured when fire swept through a windowless house they shared. Najran Governor Prince Juluwe bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed ordered an investigation into the deaths.

Saudi security officer killed in Qatif

A Saudi security officer has been killed and three others wounded in an attack Qatif in the Eastern Province.  The incident happened in in al-Awamiya on Thursday morning, close to where another soldier died in an RPG attack earlier this week.  The increased violence is linked to the  Al-Masoura construction project, which will see hundreds of residential buildings demolished.

Security officers killed in Qatif attack

A Saudi security officer has been killed and three others wounded in an attack in the Eastern Province.  A patrol unit was ambushed near the entrance to the Al-Awamiya centre in the Al-Mansoura district of Qatif.  The authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, which is the latest in a series of attacks against the security forces in the Eastern Province.

Four Saudi troops killed by cross-border fire

Four Saudi soldiers have been killed by sniper fire from neighbouring Yemen.  According to the al-Masirah network, three soldiers died in the Asir region, while another died at the al-Farizeh base in Jizan.  The attacks come as Saudi Arabia continues to carry out airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Marib and Saada province.

Security forces kill wanted man in Mecca

The Saudi security forces have shot dead a wanted man in the holy city of Mecca.  Several others, who were also wanted on terrorism charges, were arrested during the incident, which took place in the al-Aseelah district on Friday.  None of the security forces were reportedly wounded in the exchange of fire with the assailants.

Arab states issue Qatar demands

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have issued Qatar with a list of 13 demands which it must commit to before sanctions are lifted.  They include shutting down broadcaster Al-Jazeera and affiliated networks, closing the Turkish military base and reducing ties with Iran.  Qatar has also been told that it must comply with the demands within 10 days.  There was no immediate response from the Qatari ruling family.

Saudi coastguard opens fire on Iranian fishing vessels

The Saudi coastguard has opened fire on two Iranian fishing vessels in the Persian Gulf, killing one person.  “Two fishing boats were in the Persian Gulf and strayed due to high waves. The Saudi coastguard say the boats entered Saudi waters and killed one of the fishermen,” said Majid Aghababaie, head of border affairs at Iran's interior ministry. "The action of the Saudis does not comply with humanitarian and navigational principles."

Saudi soldier killed in Jizan landmine

A Saudi soldier has been killed by a landmine in Saudi's southern province of Jizan.  Meteb al-Qahtani was patrolling the al-Dayer sector, close to the border with Yemen, when the device exploded on Tuesday.  The Saudi security forces have launched an investigation into the incident.

Saudi officer killed in Qatif blast

A Saudi soldier has been killed and two others wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Eastern Province. The device exploded at the troops were on patrol in the Masoura district in Qatif on Sunday evening.  Officials said "terrorist elements" had carried out the attack due to the ongoing redevelopment work in Masoura.  In May a soldier was killed and five others wounded by a grenade in the area, where forced evacuations have led to increased tensions.

MERS cases confirmed in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 14 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  Three cases - including two fatalities - were recorded at a hospital in Riyadh, while further cases were reported in Bisha city, and in Wadi al-Dawasir in Riyadh province. The latest cases bring Saudi Arabia's total number of MERS cases to 1,625, including 671 deaths, since 2012.

Two killed in car bombing, Qatif

Two people have been killed in a car bombing in Qatif. The two people killed have been identified as terror suspects wanted by the law enforcement agencies for multiple crimes. The incident occurred near a marketplace in Shiite Muslim majority area.

Saudi police officer killed by RPG

A Saudi Arabian police officer has been killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in the Shia town of Awamiya.  The interior ministry said the officers were on patrol in the Almosara when they were targeted, adding that five people were also wounded.  The security forces also shot dead two people during a raid in the old town (al-Musawara) on Wednesday during an ongoing operation against alleged Shia militants.  Last week a two-year-old boy and a Pakistani national were killed when gunmen opened fire in the district, which is the site of a constroversial redevelopment project.

Two soldiers killed near Yemen border

Two Saudi soldiers have been killed in a rocket attack near the southern border with Yemen.  The troops were patrolling around Jizan on Thursday when they were targeted, according to the SPA news agency.  The incident occurred a day after the Saudi authorities intercepted a boat rigged with explosives near an Aramco oil distribution platform off Jizan province.

Four Saudi troops killed in Jizan attack

Four Saudi soldiers have been killed by suspected Houthi rebels in the south-western province of Jizan, according to Yemeni media reports.  One soldier was killed by sniper fire at the al-Mo'annaq military outpost on Saturday, while three others were killed in Najran.  There has been no official confirmation by the Saudi authorities.

Seventeen Houthi rebels killed in border breach

At least 17 Houthi rebels have been killed in an alleged attempted border breach. The incident occurred near the Saudi-Yemeni border near the village of Al Khubah in the Jazan province, as Saudi border security shot down rebels attempting to gain access to Yemen. Three rebel vehicles were also destroyed in cross-border counter-attacks over the weekend. 

Saudi police officer shot dead in Qatif

A Saudi police officer was shot dead in the eastern city of Qatif on Tuesday evening.  According to the Saudi Press Agency, the officer approached a suspect car when the occupants opened fire on him near Qatif Central Hospital.  The vehicle, which had been stolen in Dammam, was later found containing Molotov cocktails.

Police shoot dead IS suspect in Riyadh

Saudi police have shot dead a suspected Islamic State (IS) supporter and arrested another in the capital, Riyadh.  The interior ministry said the shooting occurred in the al-Rayan district on Tuesday evening.  “Security forces were met with resistance when they attempted to arrest the suspect which led to his death,” a ministry spokesperson said.

Warplane crashes in Najran

A Jordanian Air Force F16 warplane has crashed in the Najran area of Saudi Arabia. It's believed the aircraft had been conducting an airstrike mission over Yemen when it crashed due to a technical fault. The Jordanian military has supported the Saudi-led coalition in the war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has been ongoing since March 2015. No casualties resulted from the crash, with the pilot surviving uninjured.

Two Saudi officers killed in rebel firing, Yemen

Two Saudi officers have been killed in rebel firing in Yemen within the last 24 hours. One officer died after he was fatally wounded in shelling from a rocket fired by rebels in the Dhahran al-Janub area of the Asir region, while another officer was killed when a rebel sniper opened fire in the al-Karas military base in the south-western Jizan region.

Security forces break up four IS cells

The Saudi security forces have dismantled four alleged Islamic State (IS) cells and arrested 18 suspects in operations across the kingdom.  The interior ministry said 15 of the suspects were Saudi nationals, while the other three were from Sudan and Yemen. "Cell members were (also) active in...choosing and conducting surveillance of targets and passing information to the organisation abroad, promoting the deviant group and recruiting members for the organisation and inciting them to fight in areas of struggle," the statement said.  Security forces also seized more than two million riyals ($530k) in cash.

Increased cyber security threat issued

An increased level of threat of cyber attacks has been issued in Saudi Arabia, as cyber security experts allegedly predict an increased amount of activity from cyber criminals, hackers and potentially terror groups.  OSAC has issued a warning to US citizens that intense attacks such as the November 2016 cyber attacks - which utilised spear phishing methods - could become more common place in 2017. Furthermore, there is allegedly enough evidence of anti-US or anti-western sentiment to warrant an increased concern for the safety of private and public western businesses and organisations amidst the rising threat of cyber attack.

Yemeni missile hits Saudi military base

A ballistic missile has struck a Saudi Arabian military base in the the Riyadh area. The missile was reportedly a type of Russian Scud - also known as a 'Borkan' surface-to-surface missile. The missile was fired by the Yemeni Army and targeted a military base west of Riyadh in Mazahimiyah. No casualties have been confirmed, however many are feared dead. 

Saudi soldier killed in mine explosion, Jizan

A Saudi soldier has been killed in a landmine explosion in the Jizan province. It is believed that the landmine was planted along the Saudi-Yemen border by the Houthi militants from the Yemen side of the border. A military vehicle encountered the landmine whilst patrolling the border in routine operations. No casualties have been reported yet.

Saudi soldier killed in Jizan

A Saudi soldier has been killed in a gunbattle with suspected Houthi rebels near the Saudi-Yemen border.  A border post in Jizan province came under heavy fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to the interior ministry.

UN office damaged by Houthi rocket fire

A UN building in Asir province has been damaged by rocket fire from neighbouring Yemen.  Suspected Houthi rebels launched the missile from Saada province on Monday.  The entrance to the building was damaged but no injuries have been reported.

Saudi helicopter shot down in Taiz province

A Saudi Apache helicopter has allegedly been shot down in the south-western province of Taiz.  Yemeni military sources said the helicopter came down in a coastal area near the city of Dhubab.  The Houthi rebel group has also released footage of its fighters attacking Saudi positions across the border in the Jizan region.

Saudi Arabia arrests 16 terrorists

Saudi police have arrested 16 suspected terrorists during operations in Jeddah.  Officers carried out raids on two hideouts on Saturday, killing two suspects in a shoot-out before arresting 16 others (three Saudis and 13 Pakistani nationals).  Explosives and bomb-making materials were seized during the operation, along with weapons and ammunition.

Houthi rebels kill Saudi soldiers in Jizan attack

The Houthi rebel groups have killed several Saudi soldiers in an attack in the Jizan region.  Rebels fired rockets at the al-Muntazah military base on Thursday night, while a site on Malhamah mountain was also hit.  Saudi troops were forced to temporarily abandon the base before the air force halted the rebel fire.

Two suicide bombers killed in Riyadh shootout

Saudi police killed two suicide bombers during a shootout in the capital, Riyadh, on Saturday.  Tayea Salem al-Sayari and Talal Samran al-Saadi died during a clash at their hideout in the Yasmeen district in the north of the city.  Security forces launched the operation after they received intelligence that the pair were planning a raid on a nearby residential building,  Al-Sayari was suspected to have provided the explosives for the bombing of the Medina mosque in July.

Saudi soldier killed in Yemen shelling

A Saudi soldier has been killed by shelling from neighbouring Yemen.  The soldier died and several others were wounded when artillery fire hit military positions in Makhrooq in Najran.  Another Saudi base in Najran was also hit by shelling, which destroyed an armaments depot.  The strikes come two days after the Saudi-led coalition carried out dozens of airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen's capital, Sana'a.

Saudi soldier killed by car bomb near Yemen border

A Saudi soldier has been killed in a car bomb explosion near the southern border with Yemen.  Abdullah Farhan Jaber Al Malki died near the city of Jizan, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.  Suspected Houthi rebels carried out a series of attacks against Saudi military bases, including al-Mahrooq, on Thursday, in response to Saudi operations in Yemen.

Fifteen sentenced to death for espionage

Fifteen people have been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia on charges of espionage in collaboration with Iranian intelligence services. The court processes began in February, with a total of 32 people on trial - including 30 Saudi Shia Muslims, one Iranian national and one Afghan national. The conflict between the Shia Muslim minority and the Sunni Muslim majority has fueld the detoriation of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Seven killed in Saudi floods

At least seven people have been killed and several others wounded after heavy rain caused flooding across Saudi Arabia.  Three men were confirmed dead in Bisha and two others died in Baha.  Elsewhere two expatriates were killed by thunderbolts in Qunfudah.  Officials said the torrential rain in Qunfudah governorate washed away large sections of the International Road between Jeddah and Jizan.

Serious weather warning

A serious weather warning has been issued by the Presidency of Meteorology and Environmental Protection in Saudi Arabia. Heavy rainfall, high winds and rough seas are expected to affect various areas across the country, including: Tabuk, Al-Jouf, Riyadh, Hail, Makkah, Madinah, Al Qassim, Al Baha, Asir, the Eastern Province, and the Northern Border Region. People should be aware of the greater risk of flooding, and the risk of travel disruptions due to high winds - such as flight cancellations and slow-moving traffic.

Saudis intercept missile from Yemen

The Saudi military has destroyed a ballistic missile fired from neighbouring Yemen, according to an official statement released by the Saudi Press Agency.  The Tochka missile was fired towards the Najran region on Tuesday, but the Saudis say it was countered by its Patriot missile defence system.  There have been dozens of cross-border rocket attacks since the Saudis launched a military operation against the Houthis in Yemen in March, 2015.

Fourteen civilians wounded by rocket fire in southern Saudi Arabia

Fourteen civilians in southern Saudi Arabia were wounded by rocket fire from neighboring Yemen on Thursday.  State news agency said 13 Saudis and a Bangladeshi national were injured in the attack in Dhahran al-Janoub province in the Asir region.  "The victims suffered various injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment," said Colonel Mohammed al-Assemi.  Earlier this week five people were wounded by cross-border fire near the southern city of Jizan.

Five wounded by cross-border fire from Yemen

Five Saudis have been wounded near the southern city of Jizan by rocket fire from neighbouring Yemen.  The Saudi Civil Defense said the incident occurred late on Tuesday, adding that three vehicles were also damaged.  There have been dozens of cross-border attacks since Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab forces against the Houthi rebel group in March, 2015.

Twelve arrested over Houthi links

Saudi Arabia has arrested 12 people over alleged ties to the Houthi rebel group in neighbouring Yemen.  They were detained during an operation in the southern border region of Najran, according to the al-Riyadh newspaper.  Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of forces fighting against the Houthis and their allies since March, 2015, while more than 100 Saudis have been killed near the border by rocket fire and armed clashes.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-COV) reported

On 31 October, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that between 16 September and 10 October, 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia received seven confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-COV), including one fatal case. Four of the cases were reported in the Riyadh Region; two were reported in the Hail Region, including the fatality; and one was reported in the Aljouf Region. Five of the six surviving cases are said to be in stable conditions in hospital, and one is in a critical condition in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 

Security officer killed in Qatif shooting

A security officer has been killed in a drive-by shooting in the city of Qatif in Eastern Province.  Sultan Al-Matiri was gunned down and a colleague wounded in the attack near the neighbourhood of Majidiyah on Sunday morning.  "The terrorist attack is the latest in a string of terrorist operations carried out by nine terrorists whose names were made public on Sunday. The suspects are involved in terrorist crimes that occurred recently in Qatif and Dammam," spokesman of Interior Ministry Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said.

Saudi Arabia foils bomb plot in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia says it has thwarted a bomb plot in the western city of Jeddah.  Militants planned to detonate a car bomb at a World Cup 2018 qualifying game between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in October.  Eight alleged militants have been arrested from two cells, both with links to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.  The Saudi authorities also said a second plot to kill security officials near Riyadh has been foiled, while other attacks were reportedly planned in Qatif and Dammam.

Saudis shoot down missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a ballistic missile fired from neighbouring Yemen on Thuesday.  The Arab Coalition, which is carrying out military operations in Yemen, said the missile was fired from Yemen's Saada province by Houthi militants and appeared to target the holy city of Mecca.  Bahrain, a member of the Arab Coalition, condemned the incident in a statement: "The targeting of the Holy Site presents a direct insult toward Muslims everywhere and constitutes a hate and religious crime from the militias’ part."

China and Saudi Arabia hold joint anti-terror drills

China and Saudi Arabia have carried out two weeks of anti-terrorism drills in China's south-western city of Chongqing.  The training started on 10 October and was attended by 25 people from both states.  "This joint anti-terrorism training is directed at raising the two militaries' ability to combat terrorism and non-traditional security threats," said the People's Liberation Army Daily.  China has also set up counter-terrorism alliances with neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Two police officers shot dead in Dammam

Two Saudi police officers have been shot dead in the eastern city of Dammam.  The officers were targeted in the al-Dhabab neighbourhood late on Monday as the pair finished work.  "Two security men were martyred ... three unidentified gunmen opened fire on the two security men as they returned from work in Dammam," reported the al-Arabiya TV network.  Two police officers were also shot dead in the city last month.

Two civilians wounded in Jizan by missile fired from Yemen

On 20 October, two civilians were wounded by a missile that struck Jizan, near the border with Yemen. Saudi authorities state that the missile was fired by Houthi rebels inside Yemen. The Saudi government accused Houthi rebels of violating a ceasefire on a number of occasions, firing rockets, missiles, shells and small arms at the cities of Jizan and Najraan. 

Seventeen workers injured in fire at oil processing facility near Riyadh

On 19 October, 17 workers at a Saudi Aramco crude oil processing facility near Riyadh were injured when a fire broke out. The fire was swiftly contained and did not impact operations at the facility. The fire reportedly broke out at around 15:00 local time. All of the injured are being treated in nearby hospitals. 

One killed and two wounded in cross-border shelling in Jazan

On 7 October, one person was killed and a mother and child were wounded in cross-border shelling. The victims, all Yemeni nationals, were wounded when shells fired from Houthi rebels inside Yemen landed in Jazan, southern Saudi Arabia, at 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT).

Saudi border guard killed by shell fired from Yemen

On 29 September, a Saudi Arabian border guard was killed by a shell fired from Yemen. Saudi authorities have blamed Houthi rebels in Yemen for the attack in Jazan province, which borders Yemen. 

Five cases of MERS-CoV reported

The National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported that, between 23 August and 11 September, five cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) were confirmed. 

Eight workers injured in fire at Aramco oil terminal in Eastern Province

On 20 September, eight workers were injured in a fire at the Ras Tanura oil terminal in Eastern Province. The fire broke out at the state-run Aramco company's oil facility at approximately 09:00 local time (06:00 GMT). It was quickly contained and reportedly had no impact on oil and gas operations. Workers have been successfully evacuated and an investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire. 

Three Islamic State cells arrested and four suicide attacks prevented

On 19 September, the Ministry of the Interior stated that police had closed down three Islamic State (IS) terror cells and detained 17 people. Authorities claim that those arrested had reached the last stages of developing four separate suicide attacks targeting religious scholars, institutions and security headquarters. During the raids, 20kg of explosive material was seized, along with ammunition and 160,000 USD. 

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-COV) reported

The World Health Organisation reported that between 20 July and 18 August, 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia confirmed eight cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including one fatal case. The death of two previously confirmed MERS cases was also reported. 

One killed in al-Houthi cross-border attack in Jizan

A Saudi woman died and two others were injured after cross-border shelling hit the southern Saudi town of Jizan on Sunday. According to government sources, the attack was carried out by members of the Iran-backed al-Houthi militia stationed in Yemen. Such offensives carried out by al-Houthi militants became recurrent after the suspension of the UN-brokered peace talks in Yemen in early August. Reports show that cross-border attacks led to the death of more than 100 people since March 2015.

Police officer shot dead by masked gunmen in Qatif

A police officer was shot dead when four armed men stormed a police station in Qatif district, eastern Saudi Arabia, early this morning. Saudi authorities have said that the Islamic State (IS) terror group is likely to have been behind the attack. Saudi Arabia has been under high security alert since the synchronized bomb attacks in Jeddah and Medina.

Deadly clashes along Yemen-Saudi border

At least seven Saudi soldiers and dozens of Yemeni Houthi rebels have been killed in heavy fighting along the border.  The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the fighting took place in Najran province, while the Saudi-led coalition called the Houthi attacks "a flagrant violation of the agreed truce between the two sides”.  Both sides are due to attend the latest UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait this week.

Authorities make arrests in connection to Saudi bombings

Saudi Arabia's security services have arrested 19 people in connection to the recent bombings in Medina, Jeddah and Qaatif. Among the arrested are 12 Pakistani nationals and seven Saudis. In a statement directed to the nation, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said: "The kingdom is fully determined to strike with an iron fist all those who aim at the minds or ideas of our dear young people". No group claimed responsibility for the attacks; however suspicion has fallen on the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Four guards killed in suicide blast in Medina

Four guards were killed and five people wounded in a suicide bomb attack near the Prophet's Mosque in the holy city of Medina on Monday.  The Senior Council of Ulema said the attack at Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, which happened just before sunset prayers, had "violated everything that is sacred".  The blast followed similar attacks in Jeddah and Qatif, although in both of those incidents only the bombers died.

Suicide attack targets US consulate in Jeddah

A suicide bomber has detonated a device outside the US consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah.  Two security officers were slightly wounded in the blast late on Sunday night.  No group claimed responsibility for the attack, while the consulate said it is in close contact with the Saudi authorities.

Saudi police officer shot dead in Saihat

A Saudi police officer was shot dead in the eastern city of Saihat on Friday. Faisal al-Harbi was working on a traffic patrol when he was killed by unknown assailants.  The incident happened in a largely Shia area of the country, and comes after neighbouring Bahrain revoked the citizenship of leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, exacerbating sectarian tensions in the area. 

Houthi rebels launch cross-border missile into Jizan

Yemen's Houthi militants launched a missile attack against Saudi Arabia on Monday. The border province of Jizan was hit by several long-range missiles, although no injuries were reported. The incident was first reported by the local pro-Houthi television channel al-Masirah on Monday. The Saudi authorities confirmed the attack, which is the first cross-border strike in over a month.

Security forces kill suspected militant in Taif

The Saudi security forces have killed a suspected militant during an operation in the western city of Taif.  Mohammed al-Maliki, who was accused of taking part in a series of attacks on Shia's and Saudi security forces, was killed during the siege on Sunday evening.  Officials said a Saudi soldier also died in the exchange of fire.

Four IS militants killed in Mecca

Saudi security forces carried out operations against suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Mecca on Thursday. According to the local newspaper, al-Okaz, the authorities surrounded a group of men in the Wadi Noman area, where four wanted men were shot dead. Several attacks claimed by IS have been carried out within the kingdom recently, especially against the country's Shia Muslim minority. 

Police officer injured by bomb blast in Al Ahsa

A police officer was slightly wounded by a bomb blast in eastern Saudi Arabia on Thursday. The explosive device went off outside a highway patrol station in the town of Al Ahsa. In January a bomb attack against a Shia mosque killed four people and injured 18 others in the town's Mahasen neighbourhood.

Floods kill 18 in Saudi Arabia

Heavy rain and flooding has killed at least 18 people across Saudi Arabia. According to the Civil Defence Agency, more than 900 people were rescued in several major Saudi cities, including Riyadh, Makkah, Madina, Al Baha, Asir and Jizan. On Wednesday, severe weather caused the closure of schools and disrupted road traffic in the capital, Riyadh. The rain also heavily affected neighbouring Yemen, which reported 24 deaths in the north of the country.

Schools and road traffic disrupted by floods in Riyadh

Schools and road traffic were affected by floods in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Wednesday. After a severe storm hit the city on Tuesday, many roads were still inundated by rain water the following day. According to the Ministry of Education, the decision to shut down schools was taken over fears for the safety of the students. Floods are not common in Riyadh, which only experiences occasional bursts of rain throughout the year.

Cross-border shelling kills three in Jizan

Shelling from neighbouring Yemen has killed three people in the southern province of Jizan.  State media reported that the shelling hit near the town of Samtah on Tuesday evening, adding that a child was among the victims.  The have been several similar incidents since the Saudi-led coaltion began military operations against Houti rebels in Yemen in March, 2015. 

Security officer killed near Riyadh

A senior Saudi security officer has been killed near the capital, Riyadh.  Colonel Kitab al-Hammadi was found dead in the al-Arja area of al-Dawadimi province on Tuesday.  The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack via the Amaq news website.

Bomb kills one at Saudi police station

One person has been killed in an IED attack at a police station south of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.  The device exploded in the city of al-Dilam on Sunday, setting fire to three police vehicles.  An affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) - Nejd Province - claimed responsibility for the attack.  The group have previously carried out major bomb attacks in the east of the country.

Saudi reporter jailed for anti-government tweets

Saudi Arabia has jailed a journalist for five years for "insulting the rulers (and) inciting public opinion".  Amnesty International said Alaa Brinji was also fined 50,000 riyals and banned from travelling for eight years.  In a statement Amnesty said the ruling is “a clear violation of international law and the latest demonstration of the Saudi Arabian authorities’ deep-seated intolerance of the right to peaceful expression”.

Hundreds of workers on strike in Jeddah

Over 1,000 employees of a construction company in Jeddah are on strike due to a six-month delay in the payment of their wages. The protesters disconnected the electricity of a building in the city and allegedly assaulted administrative staff and damaged property. The spokesperson for the Minitry of Labour, Khalid Aba Al-Kheil said: "The ministry received a number of complaints and it has stopped all its services to the company.”

Teacher kills at least six colleagues in Jizan

A teacher has shot dead six colleagues and injured three others in southern Saudi Arabia. The secondary school teacher armed with an automatic weapon attacked the Saudi Ministry of Education office in the Jizan region on Thursday. The assailant managed to escape before police arrived at the scene.

Two soldiers killed by sniper fire in Jizan

Two Saudi soldiers have been killed by sniper fire near the southern border with Yemen.  The incidents happened at the al-Ma'anq and Matha'an military sites in Jizan province.

Rocket kills a child near border with Yemen

An 11-year-old child has been killed and nine others wounded after rockets fired from Yemen hit a house in the city of Najran.  The incident happened at around 17:20 local time on Sunday evening.  The wounded have been taken to hospital for treatment.

Shia mosque attacked in Saudi's Eastern Province

At least three people have been killed and seven others wounded in an attack on a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.  A gunman opened fire before a suspected suicide bomber was arrested at the Imam Al Redha Mosque in the town of Mahasen.  There have been a number of attacks on Shia mosques in the Eastern Province in recent months, while tensions have increased since the government executed prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr earlier this month.

Masked men target intelligence building in Qatif

A group of masked men threw firebombs at an intelligence service compound in the eastern city of Qatif on Sunday. A Saudi Interior Ministry spokesperson said “there was a failed terrorist attempt to burn the building with Molotov cocktails” and that three of the assailants had been captured.  The incident is suspected to be linked to the execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies cut ties with Iran

Bahrain and the UAE have joined Saudi Arabia in cutting ties with Iran as part of the diplomatic row over the execution of a Shia Muslim cleric.  Saudi authorities executed Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 mostly Sunni convicts over the weekend, sparking outrage in mainly Shia Iran.  Protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday evening, while Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Saudi Arabia will face "divine revenge" for its actions.  In response Bahrain announced that it was closing its embassy in Iran, while the United Arab Emirates said it was downgrading its ties with the country.

Saudi Arabia creates 'anti-terrorism' coalition

Saudi Arabia have formed a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries to fight terrorism.  Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the alliance included Arab states, such as Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and the UAE, along with non-Arab states including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Nigeria.  Prince Mohammed said: "Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually... so coordinating efforts is very important."

Two Saudi police officers shot dead in Qatif

Two Saudi Arabian police officers have been shot dead in the eastern Qatif governorate.  The attack took place near a farm in the Saihat area on Wednesday morning.  Meanwhile the UK Foreign Office said there had been an attempted kidnapping of a British national in the nearby city of Al Khobar over the weekend.

Suicide bomb targets mosque in Najran

At least three people have been killed and 12 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a mosque in the south-western city of Najran.  The blast hit the al-Mashhad mosque - which is close to the border with Yemen - during evening prayers on Monday.  No group claimed immediate responsibility for the bombing, although militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) carried out a similar attack on a mosque in Abha in August.

UK national sentenced to 350 lashes

A UK national has been sentenced to 350 lashes after he was caught with homemade wine in Saudi Arabia.  Karl Andree, 74, has already spent more than year in Jeddah's Briman prison since he was arrested by Saudi's religious police.  The UK Foreign Office said it was "seeking his release as soon as possible".

Hundreds killed in Hajj stampede

At least 453 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca.  Around two million Muslims are taking part in this year's Hajj pilgrimage, which has already been overshadowed by the deaths of 109 people when a crane collapsed at Mecca's Grand Mosque earlier this month.  Today's stampede happened on Street 204 in the town of Mina, located a few kilometres east of Mecca.

Five Saudi soldiers killed on border

Five Saudi soldiers have been killed in the southern province of Najran, on the Yemeni border. The soldiers were reportedly killed by cross-border firing from inside Yemen. Also on Sunday, a military helicopter crashed in Taif area, killing the pilot. The crash is being attributed to a technical defect.

Crane collapses at Mecca; 107 killed

At least 107 people were killed and more than 230 people were injured when a crane collapsed in the holy city of Mecca on Friday. The accident happened at 17.23 local time (14.23 GMT), when many worshippers were there for Friday prayers. The head of Saudi Arabia's civil defence said that strong winds and heavy rain had caused the collapse. The accident comes as Mecca is preparing for the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage, with hundreds of thousands expected to attend. 

MERS death level on the rise

Saudi Arabia has announced four more deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), bringing the death toll in the past week to 17. Health officials admit they are worried about the timing, as the kingdom prepares to welcome around two million Muslims for the annual Hajj next month. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says many of the recent cases are associated with an outbreak at a hospital in Riyadh.

Saudi ground troops enter northern Yemen

Saudi Arabian troops have reportedly crossed the border and entered northern Yemen for the first time since the Saudi-led coalition began its campaign against the Houthis and their allies in Yemen. According to footage released on Wednesday, soldiers can be seen moving into position in the Saudi province of Jizan. In the reports, Saudi commanders insist that the ground operations will be limited and temporary. 

Saudi Arabia captures suspected Khobar Towers bomber

The main suspect of the 1996 Khobar Towers bomb attack in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been captured. Ahmad al-Mughassil was arrested in the Lebanese capital of Beirut and then transferred to Riyadh. There was no immediate comment from the Saudi authorities, but a US official confirmed that Mughassil was being held. He has been indicted by a US court for the attack, which killed 19 US military personnel and a Saudi citizen. 

Saudi military intercepts Scud missile fired by Yemeni forces

Yemeni army units allied to Houthi rebels fired a Scud ballistic missile towards southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, but the Saudi military has said that it intercepted the missile and retaliated with air strikes on Houthi positions. Residents in Sanaa, Yemen, reported hearing a big roar sa the Scud was launched nearby, followed by Saudi-led airstrikes on a presidential palace and a military rocket depot. A spokesman for Yemeni army units fighting alongside Houthi rebels said the missile was aimed at an electricity station in Saudi Arabia's Jizan province. The Saudi military said in a statement that it intercepted and destroyed the missile, averting any damage, and directed air strikes against the source of fire in Yemen. 

Saudi Arabia executes Yemeni for killing officer

Saudi Arabia has executed a Yemeni convicted of shooting dead a security officer who was trying to arrest him in the southern Jizan region. The Yemeni, who was wanted by the kingdom's authorities, was beheaded on Wednesday, making him the 121st person to be executed in the country this year.

Two Saudi guards killed on border with Yemen

Two Saudi border guards have been killed in an attack by Houthi rebels in the Jizan district on the Yemeni border. Houthi sources claim to have attacked Saudi border positions on Sunday with Katyusga rockets, destroying army vehicles and killing "several" Saudi soldiers. 

Saudi mosque hit by deadly suicide bomb

A suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Saudi Arabia has killed 13 people. A senior Saudi official has said that the bombing targeted a mosque used by the security forces in Abha, close to the Yemeni border. Reports say that many of those killed were members of the security forces. Officials say that the mosque was used by a Swat team tasked with domestic security. It is not yet clear who carried out the attack, and no group has yet claimed it.

Saudi Arabian soldier killed in shelling on Yemen border

A Saudi Arabian soldier has been killed in shelling on the border with Yemen. "He was hit by a projectile in the sector of Jazan," a Saudi border district, a statement from the Saudi-led coalition has said. 

Yemeni army seizes strategic Saudi military base

The Yemeni army and popular Ansarullah forces staged an intense missile and artillery attack on Al-Jalah military base in Jizan province, Saudi Arabia, before capturing it in a raid, Yemeni military sources have said. The Yemeni forces also took control of the hilltops surrounding the base. The base has been under missile and artillery attacks from the Yemeni army for the last two days. Yemeni troops have also been targeting several other Saudi Arabian military bases in different parts of Jizan province today. Reports claim that over 50 missiles have been fired at Saudi military centres in al-Ma'atan, al-Madba, Qorafd al-Sheikh and al-Radif regions, with several Saudi military personnel being killed in the missile attacks in al-Radif. 

One policeman killed and two others wounded in attack

One policeman has been killed and two others wounded after they came under fire in al-Jesh village in the Qatif district. This is a very Shia-dominated area of Eastern Province. Two suspects have been arrested, but it is not yet known if there is any link to the Islamic State (IS) terror group or to unrest among the minority Shia community.

Authorities arrest hundreds of suspected IS members

Saudi Arabia has arrested 431 people suspected of being members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.  In a statement the interior ministry said the suspects were planning suicide attacks on mosques and attacks on the country's security forces. "Terrorist plots to target a diplomatic mission, security and government facilities in Sharurah province and the assassination of security men were thwarted," it said.

Suicide bomb blast hits Riyadh

Two people have been wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.  The assailant, who died in the blast, detonated the device at a security checkpoint near a high security prison on the Al Ha'er road. "While security officers were manning one of the security checkpoints on Ha'er Road in Riyadh, they directed the driver of a suspected car to stop. The driver initiated an explosion which led to his death," the interior ministry said in a statement.

Security officer killed in land mine blast

A Saudi security officer has been killed by a land mine in the border region of Jizan. Lt. Col. Abdullah Al-Balwi died Wednesday “as a result of the explosion of a land mine in Twalig mountain” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Blogger sentence upheld in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has upheld a sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on jailed blogger Raif Badawi.  Mr Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, said "we had had some hope before that maybe he would get his sentence reduced," she said. "I am very sad about his and very worried for Raif." In January he received his first 50 public lashes, sparking widespread international condemnation of the Saudi authorities.

Border guard killed by Yemen shelling

A Saudi border guard has been killed and seven others wounded by shelling from Yemen.  The attack took place around 18:30 local time on Saturday in the Harth municipality of Jizan in south-western Saudi. The interior ministry added that the border guard force “dealt with the situation accordingly” in coordination with the army.

Car bomb attack kills four at Shia mosque in Dammam

At least four people have been killed in a car bomb attack at a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.  The blast occurred at the Imam Hussein Mosque in the al-Anoud district of Dammam.  The local authorities said security forces prevented the assailant from detonating the device inside the mosque, which was packed with people attending Friday prayers

Two Saudi border guards killed by Yemen rocket fire

Two Saudi border guards have been killed by missile fire from neighbouring Yemen.  Riyadh's interior ministry said "military missiles" struck their position at Zahran South in the Asir region on Wednesday.  Thirty people have now been killed in the border region from cross border attacks since late-March.

Two killed in Najran by cross border shelling

A security officer and a civilian have been killed by shelling in the southern border city of Najran.  Eight other people were wounded in the strikes from neighbouring Yemen on Tuesday afternoon.  The latest casualties mean that at least 28 people have been killed near the Yemeni border since a Saudi-led coalition began military operations against Shia Houthi rebels in late-March.

Suicide bomber targets Shia mosque in Eastern Province

At least four people have been killed and several others wounded in a suicide bomb attack at a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.  The blast occurred at the Imam Ali Mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh in Qatif governorate where more than 150 people were praying.  No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack.

Leading Shia cleric due to be executed despite protests

A prominent Shia critic is set to be executed despite appeals for clemency from protesters and human rights activists.  Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who is regarded as the leading Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to death last October for taking part in Shia protests in 2011.  Thousands protested in the Iranian city of Qom, while similar protesters were held in Lucknow in India. The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) an independent non-profit organization based in London, have asked the UN to intervene and prevent al-Nimr’s execution.

Increase in MERS cases reported in Saudi Arabia

A 74-year-old man has died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in Saudi Arabia, while a total of 12 new cases have been reported in the last few days.  The Ministry of Health confirmed three cases over the weekend, none of which were healthcare workers and each separated from each other.  A total of 431 people have died from the disease in the Kingdom since June, 2012, while 996 have been infected over the same period.

Saudi-Yemen border hit by heavy fire

Yemen's Shia Houthi fighters and Saudi-led armed forces have exchanged fire along the two countries shared border.  The Houthis said they fired rockets and mortars on the cities of Jizan and Najran, while the Saudi targeted Saada and Hajjah provinces with more than 150 rockets.  Saudi planes also carried out airstrikes in the central city of Taiz and in Marib province.  The latest fighting comes a day before a five-day humanitarian ceasefire is due to begin in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia considers Yemen ceasefire

Saudi Arabia said it is considering a five-day ceasefire in Yemen to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid. Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who was speaking at a press conference in Riyadh with US Secretary of State John Kerry, said the ceasefire is conditional on the cooperation of Houthi rebels. “We strongly urge the Houthis and those (who) back them... to use all their influence not to miss this major opportunity to address the needs of the Yemeni people and find a peaceful way forward,” Kerry told reporters.

Saudi troops in border clashes with Houthi rebels

Dozens of Houthi fighters and three Saudi soldiers have been killed in clashes along the Yemen-Saudi border.  The heaviest fighting erupted when the Houthis attacked a border post in Saudi's Najran province on Thursday.  In a separate incident a Saudi border guard was killed by mortar fire in the Jizan province in south-western Saudi Arabia.

Saudi king appoints nephew as crown prince

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has appointed his nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as the crown prince as part of a major cabinet reshuffle.  The decree removes Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud as the next in line to the throne.  "We have decided to respond to his highness and what he had expressed about his desire to be relieved from the position of crown prince," said a statement from the royal court, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi authorities arrest 93 Islamic State (IS) members

Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 suspected members of the Islamic State (IS), according to the interior ministry.  The kingdom's official Press Agency (SPA) said that it had also foiled a number of plots across the country, including a planned attack on the US embassy in Riyadh in March. The Saudi interior ministry statement quoted by SPA called IS a "deviant group" and said its supporters were seeking to "undermine the security of this country".

Security increased over potential terrorist attacks

A spokesman for Saudi Arabia's interior ministry has said that security has been increased at areas which might be targeted by terrorists.  Major General Mansour al-Turki said "there was information about a possible act targeting a mall or Aramco installations. We passed this information to the security forces to be on alert."

Three Saudi border troops killed in mortar attack

Three Saudi officers have been killed and two others wounded after Houthi rebels in Yemen fired mortar rounds at a border observation post.  Saudi's Defence Ministry said the incident took place in the province of Najran, adding that 500 Houthi fighters have been killed since military operations began in late-March.  Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri also said ground operations in Yemen would begin "at the appropriate time".

Two Saudi police officers shot dead in Riyadh

Two Saudi Arabian police officers have been shot dead in an eastern district of the capital, Riyadh.  Thamer Amran al-Mutairi and Abdulmohsen Khalaf al-Mutairi were on patrol at 01:30 on Wednesday morning when they were attacked.  The authorities said an ivestigation is underway but the culprits have not been identified.  Last month two officers were shot and wounded in a similar incident in the city.

Saudi Arabia and allies launch air strikes in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and its regional allies have launched air strikes against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.  Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the US, said that that a coalition of 10 countries took part in the operation to "defend the legitimate government" of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.  At least 18 people were killed in strikes in the capital, Sana'a, on Wednesday evening.  Iran, who is allied to the Houthis, has condemned the military action as US-led aggression.

Saudi Arabia moves military equipment to Yemen border

Saudi Arabia has started moving heavy military equipment near to the border with Yemen.  The move comes as Shia Houthi rebels continue to push south in Yemen, seizing the city of Taiz before closing on the southern port city of Aden on Wednesday.  The Saudi government has accused its regional rivals Iran of backing the Houthi rebels, and there are fears that the conflict could escalate into a proxy war between the two Gulf states.

Saudi blogger flogged for insulting Islam

A Saudi Arabian blogger has been publicly flogged after being found guilty of cyber crime and insulting Islam.  Raif Badawi was lashed 50 times outside a mosque in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah earlier on Friday.  He is due to undergo the same punishment after Friday prayers for 20 weeks, while he was also sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of £266,000.  Human rights groups have strongly condemned the punishment and the US, one of Saudi Arabia's main allies, has appealed for clemency.

Saudi border guards killed by suspected IS fighters

Two Saudi border guards have been killed and another wounded in an attack by suspected Islamic State (IS) fighters near the town of Arar. "A border patrol in Suwayf, in the northern Arar region, came under fire by terrorist elements," said a spokesman from the interior ministry. IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned Saudi Arabia last week that it would target the Kingdom for its role in US-led air strikes against the group in Iraq and Syria.

Security forces kill four gunmen in Eastern Province

Saudi security forces have killed four gunmen during clashes in the town of al-Awamiya in Eastern Province.  The troops raided a hideout in the town, leading to an exchange of fire with the dead.  The gunmen have been described by the government as terrorists, claiming that they were behind an attack of security forces last Sunday which left one officer dead.

Security officer killed in Riyadh hostage siege

A security officer has been killed by a gunman during a hostage siege in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh.  The assailant, who was holding three labourers hostage, opened fire on police when they surrounded him near the al-Hamoud mosque.  Saudi officials said the man, who has not been identified, has been arrested and the three hostages have been released.

Masked gunmen kill five in eastern Saudi Arabia

Masked gunmen have killed five people in an attack in a Shia Muslim area of eastern Saudi Arabia.  State media reported that nine people were also wounded in the shooting, which happened in the town of Dalwah in Asha district.  Six people have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Saudi government arrests dozens on terror charges

The Saudi Arabian government has arrested 88 men accused of plotting terrorist attacks in the kingdom and abroad.  In a statement the interior ministry said that the men had been monitored for several months and that 59 of the suspects had previously served prison sentences for similar offences.  Earlier this year the government made it illegal for Saudi citizens to fight with foreign jihadi groups, most notably the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia sends 30,000 troops to Iraq border

Saudi Arabia has sent 30,000 troops to its shared border with Iraq to protect the kingdom against potential "terrorist threats".  The move came after Iraqi government troops withdrew from the area following advances by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Shia activists sentence to death in Saudi Arabia

Two Shia activists have been sentenced to death in Saudia Arabia over an alleged attack on security forces during anti-government protests in 2011.  A court found the two men, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr and Rida al-Rubh, guilty on several charges, including causing sedition, rioting and robbery.  Human rights activists say there are thousands of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, most of the them held without any charges.

Saudi authorities uncover 'al-Qaeda' cell

Saudi Arabia said that it has uncovered an al-Qaeda cell in the country which was planning to assassinate government officials and attack foreign targets.  The group, which the government claimed had links to extremists in Yemen and Syria, comprised of 62 members - three of them non-Saudi nationals.  Interior ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said that some members of the group were still at large.

Foreign national dies of MERS virus in Saudi Arabia

A foreign national has died from the MERS virus in the city of Jeddah, while eight other people have been infected.  The death of the 45-year-old victim, whose nationality has not yet been revealed, brings the nationwide toll to 68, with 189 people infected.

Four killed in Saudi police raid

Two police officers were shot dead while trying to arrest "armed troublemakers" in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.  According to the interior ministry two of the men that they were trying to arrest also died when a gunfight erupted.  Opposition activists claim that there was no exchange of fire and that the two men had been unarmed.

100,000 Ethiopians expelled from Saudi Arabia

More than 100,000 Ethiopians have been sent back from Saudi Arabia following a violent crackdown on migrant workers.  Ethiopia's foreign minister Tedros Adhanom said a further 50,000 are still expected to return to the country.  The decision last month to end a seven-year amnesty led to violent protests both in Saudi Arabia and outside the Saudi embassy in Addis Ababa.

Iraqi militant group fire mortar bombs into Saudi Arabia

A small Shia militant group from Iraq, known as the Mukhtar Army, have fired six mortar bombs across the border into northern Saudi Arabia.  The group's leader, Wathiq al-Batat, told Reuters that "the goal was to send a warning message to Saudis to tell them that their border stations and patrols are within our range of fire".  No bombs landed in a remote area near Hafr al-Batin and no injuries were reported.

Two killed after police clash with migrant workers

At least two people have been killed and 68 others wounded after Saudi riot police clashed with protesting African migrant workers in the capital Riyadh.  Officials said that some 560 arrests were made following the violence in the Manfouah district, which began when a seven-month amnesty period for foreign workers ended.

Indonesian dies in Saudi residency protest

Fire and violence as 8,000 demonstrate at Indonesian consulate in Jeddah ahead of crackdown on illegal workers.

Saudi Arabia Data Sheet

Population:
29.2 million
Major Religion/s:
Islam
International dialing code:
+966
International dialing prefix:
00
Emergency services:
Police 999, Medical 997, Fire 998
Drives:
Right
Voltage:
127/220V
Climate:
Desert
Ohter Major Cities:
Jeddah, Makkah (Mecca)
Borders:
Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain