TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Five civilians were killed and many others sustained injuries after Saudi troops stormed a small village in the Shiite-populated region of Qatif in the kingdom’s east.

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Social media users reported clashes, mortar attacks and shooting in the Umm al-Hamam village on Monday, and have even identified some of the victims, Press TV reported.

According to local sources, Saudi forces surrounded the village for about 15 hours. They stormed a number of rural houses, claiming they were searching for a number of wanted people.

Qatif, situated in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, has been the scene of anti-regime protests since 2011, with demonstrators demanding free speech, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.

Riyadh has suppressed pro-democracy rallies, but they have intensified since January 2016 when the Al Saud regime executed respected Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

In 2017, Awamiyah, another Shiite-populated Qatif town, witnessed a deadly military crackdown on protests that were being held against the regime’s attempt to raze the historical Musawara neighborhood.

Saudi rulers claimed the district’s narrow streets served as a hideout for armed men who were behind the attacks on Saudi forces in Eastern Province.

Riyadh then deployed military forces with heavy weapons to the town, while bulldozers escorted by heavily armored military vehicles demolished several houses, businesses and historical sites across the region.

Dozens of civilians were killed during the weeks-long military crackdown. Some 30,000 people also fled the town.