Saudi Arabia executes 47 including prominent Shia leader
- Saudi Arabia executed 47 people including prominent Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and al-Qaeda leader Faris al-Zahrani.
- Most of those executed were Sunnis convicted of carrying out al-Qaeda attacks from 2003-2006.
- 4 Shi'ites including al-Nimr were also among those killed, accused of involvement in shooting policemen in 2011-2013 Shi'ite protests in the Sunni-majority kingdom.
- The executions took place across 12 cities in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia's biggest mass execution in decades
This execution marked Saudi Arabia's biggest mass execution since the killing of 63 jihadist rebels who seized Mecca's Grand Mosque in 1979. Saudi Arabia executed 157 people in 2015.
Who is Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr?
- Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr rose to prominence in pro-democracy protests in Saudi Arabia during 2011.
- A vocal, non-violent critic of the Sunni Saudi royal family, al-Nimr was hailed as a hero among the often-marginalized Shi'ite minority in Saudi Arabia.
- In 2014, Saudi Arabia's special criminal court sentenced al-Nimr to death and the Saudi supreme court rejected an appeal against his sentence in October 2015.
Iran's leader warns Saudi Arabia of 'divine vengeance'
- Shi'ite-majority Iran reacted to al-Nimr's execution with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning Saudi Arabia of "divine vengeance".
- Khamenei also criticised Saudi Arabia's western allies over their "silence", saying, "Why do those who claim to back freedom and democracy support this (Saudi) government?"
- Khamenei's website showed a photo of a Saudi executioner beside ISIS's notorious executioner Jihadi John, with the caption "Any differences?"
Hundreds take to the streets in protest
- Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr's death saw several protests take place in the Shia-majority Qatif province of Saudi Arabia where al-Nimr had popular support.
- Hundreds of armoured vehicles were reportedly sent to Qatif to contain the protests.
- Protesters carrying photos of the cleric in Bahrain clashed with police in Abu-Saiba and according to witnesses, dozens were tear-gassed.
- Security forces in Shia-populated areas are on high alert.
Sheikh al-Nimr's brother calls for peace
Mohammed al-Nimr urged protesters to react peacefully to his brother Sheikh al-Nimr's execution, saying, "No one should have any reaction outside a peaceful framework. (There has been) Enough bloodshed."
Saudi Embassy in Tehran ransacked by protesters
- Furious Shi'ite protesters ransacked the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran after gathering to denounce the Saudi royal family for the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
- The protesters stormed the embassy, lit fires and destroyed furniture before being cleared out by the police.
- This is the latest development in the protests following al-Nimr's execution.
- Saudi Arabia held Iran responsible for the embassy's lack of protection.
Saudi Arabia severs diplomatic ties with Iran
- Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic relations with Iran, in a sharp escalation of tensions between the two regional foes.
- The move comes after the Saudi embassy in Iran was attacked in protest of their country's execution of prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr.
- The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir stated that all Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran were given 48 hours to leave the country.
Saudi allies sever diplomatic ties with Iran
- In a display of solidarity with Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Bahrain cut ties with Iran after protesters attacked the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashdad on .
- Sudan and Bahrain have given two weeks and 48 hours respectively, for Iranian diplomats to leave their country.
- The UAE downgraded relations with Iran and replaced its ambassador with an embassy officer-in-charge.