Kidnapped Saudi policeman in Saihat shootout dies

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A Saudi policeman who was kidnapped by masked gunmen has died, security sources told Al Arabiya. There were no details provided for the cause of his death.

Hashem al-Zahrani was kidnapped in the early hours of Friday, when masked gunmen stormed a café between Saihat and al-Jash in Qatif, east of Saudi Arabia. They opened fire and targeted civilians. Al Arabiya sources said Zahrani was kidnapped and Abdullah al-Delbhi was killed. Zahrani was confirmed dead on Saturday.

The spokesman for Eastern Province police, Colonel Ziad al-Riqaiti, told Al Arabiya that investigations are still underway to determine whether the incident was terror related.

The police said at 5.15am on Friday, security patrols and police were informed that five masked men with automatic weapons, attacked citizens in a café in Saihat. When they arrived at the scene, policemen found the kidnappers’ vehicle parked near the entrance gate with a man inside, he had died from a gunshot wound.

Zahrani, who works in traffic control, was also shot two years ago in Qatif. He recovered from his injuries and returned to work.

Delbhi’s colleague, Mohammed al-Shehri, told Al Arabiya the deceased man had been working with the security forces for years. He had recently wed.

He added the funeral prayers for 33-year-old Delbhi took place Friday afternoon at al-Furqan mosque in Dammam. He was found dead in his car that was parked in front of the Café in Qatif. Delbhi lived in Dammam with his elderly parents.

Many on Twitter shared the story of this incident, urging the police in Qatif to “protect innocent citizens from terrorist gangs” who had previously kidnapped Judge Mohammed al-Jirani and now, Hashem al-Zahrani, in addition to attacking an engineer named Nabih al-Barahim. Many security and police men were killed in this region.