Religious tensions flare as Saudi Arabia executes 47 prisoners, including an influential Shiite cleric…


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s execution Saturday of 47 prisoners, including an influential Shiite cleric, threatened to further damage Sunni-Shiite relations in a regional struggle playing out across the Middle East between the kingdom and its regional foe Iran.

Shiite leaders across the region swiftly condemned Riyadh and warned of sectarian backlash as Saudi Arabia insisted the executions were part of a justified war on terrorism. Also executed Saturday were al-Qaida detainees who were convicted on launching a spate of attacks against foreigners and security forces a decade ago.

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