DUBAI - Saudi security forces shot and killed a man who was among a group that opened fire and hurled a fire-bomb at a police station in the oil-rich Eastern province, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Saturday.

The agency also quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying that four members of the security forces were wounded in a separate attack by masked gunmen on motor-bikes who fired at two patrols in the village of Sehat, also in Eastern Province, early on Saturday.

Two men were killed on Sunday in Eastern Province, where most of the country's Shi'ite Muslim minority lives, during protests after the arrest of a prominent Shi'ite cleric. The Interior Ministry blamed the killings on criminals but Shi'ite activists said snipers shot them.

Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 oil exporter and a key US ally, is sensitive to any unrest in the province in case it is fomented by non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran to destabilize the Gulf region. Tehran denies any involvement.

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