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Saudi Arabia says six shells fall near border post close to Iraq, Kuwait
Six mortar shells landed near a remote Saudi border post close to neighboring fellow oil producers Iraq and Kuwait on Wednesday, but caused no damage, the kingdom's border guard agency said on Thursday.
"Six mortar shells fell in an uninhabited area near the new al-Auja border guard centre of Hafr al-Batin in the Eastern Province. Thank God no damage resulted from it," said General Mohammed al-Ghamdi, the border guard media spokesman, in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The area is on the far northwestern fringes of the kingdom's oil producing region and several hundred km (miles) from its largest oilfields.
Ghamdi said he had been in contact with border guards of "neighboring countries" to take necessary measures to determine the source of mortar fire and prevent it recurring.
Sunni Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and a close ally of Kuwait, has an uneasy relationship with the Shi'ite Muslim-led Iraqi government, which it regards as a pawn of its main regional rival Iran.
It has not had an ambassador in Baghdad since before the 1990-91 Gulf War.
Sectarian fighting in Iraq over the past decade has involved Sunni militant groups close to al Qaeda and Shi'ite militias which regard Saudi Arabia unfavourably.
The kingdom has constructed a barricade of fences and earthen dykes along its Iraqi border to prevent infiltration of militants from the country.
Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province shares around 60 km (38 miles) of border with Iraq near the town of Hafr al-Batin. The border area is deep in the desert, with no towns or villages nearby. The province also borders Kuwait.
Saudi Arabia has significant oil facilities in the Neutral Zone it shares with Kuwait, more than 100 km (62 miles) from Hafr al-Batin, but its main oil and gas fields are located much further to the southeast, hundreds of km (miles) away.
[Source: Reuters, Ryadh, 21Nov13]
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