RIYADH - Saudi Arabia has ordered the arrest of 23 Shi'ite Muslims in the kingdom's Eastern Province who it says were responsible for unrest that has led to shootings and protests in recent weeks, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
The Sunni-ruled kingdom accused the wanted men of serving the agenda of a foreign power, usually a reference to its Shi'ite rival Iran which Riyadh sees as fomenting sectarian unrest to destabilize the region.
"We do have evidence of a relationship with somebody else abroad," Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Turki told a news conference. "Now how much, or what kind of relationship and how strong that relationship, this still has to be investigated and that is what we want these people for."
Tensions between Riyadh and Tehran have risen in recent months, since the Arab uprisings altered the Middle East's balance of power and brought sectarian clashes to Saudi Arabia and its close neighbor Bahrain.