Abdul Rahman Al-Khatarish and Muhammad Makki
JAZAN — Bawah Zabani, the father of Hussein Zabani, the private who was killed Saturday by rioters during a shootout in Al-Qatif, said that he is proud that his son died a martyr defending his country. Hussein’s corpse arrived Saturday at King Abdullah Regional Airport in Jazan.
Ali, the private’s brother, said that Hussein was very obedient and kind to his parents and always performed his prayers on time. “He died a hero and made his family and tribe proud,” Ali said.
Hussein had called one of his close friends a few hours before he died and told him that he was ready to put his life on the line for the country.
Sheikh Aqeel Al-Nimi, the chief of Hussein’s tribe, spoke highly of Hussein’s ethics and morals saying, “he was one of the politest and quietest students I’ve had.”
Born in 1991, Hussein spent most of his life in his birthplace, a village called Al-Malha. He joined the military after finishing high school. The youngest of five brothers, he was unmarried.
A few days before Hussein’s death, another security officer, First Lt. Hatim Al-Dhyabi, was wounded when assailants chased and unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap him. Al-Dhybai was on his way to his horse stable when he accidentally ended up in Al-Awamiya neighborhood.
Lost, he asked bystanders for directions. Suddenly, he was attacked by assailants who frisked him and took his wallet. He got into the car and sped off but the men chased him on motorbikes and opened fire. He was shot multiple times. Bleeding, he stopped at a restaurant and asked workers to take him to a nearby health clinic. When Al-Dhyabi was admitted to the clinic, the assailants barged into his room and attempted to kidnap him. He immediately called the Red Crescent and an ambulance was sent. They ran away when they saw the ambulance. He was transported to King Fahd Military Medical Complex in Dhahran where surgery was preformed to remove the bullets. Doctors said one of the bullets missed his heart by a few millimeters. Al-Dhyabi later identified the four men from police mugshots.
Meanwhile, scholars, sheiks and residents of Al-Qatif Governorate unanimously denounced the crime of targeting security officers. Abdul Haleem Aal Kidar, chief of Jazirat Tarout District, said killing a security officer is a major crime. He offered his heartfelt condolences to Hussein Zabani’s family and wished Hussein’s colleague, Saad Al-Shammari, who was injured in the shootout, a speedy recovery. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Jirani, chief justice of Al-Qatif Inheritance Court, concurred with Kidar and said “it is absolutely unacceptable to attack security officers.”
Saaed Al-Faraj, a well-known figure in Al-Qatif, urged the people in the region to stand united against such disgraceful acts carried out by a group of rioters. “We completely condemn these acts triggered by foreign agendas.”
Despite the incident that took place Saturday, Al-Qatif streets were bustling with people and there was no sign that daily life had been disrupted. Shops were open and people were going about their daily life as usual.
Traffic at the street where the shootout occurred was normal. This street has seen been the scene of several shootouts and riots.