A three-year-old child has died in hospital after allegedly being shot by Saudi troops on the streets of Awamiyah, a Shia-majority town in eastern Saudi Arabia. Sajaad Abu Abdallah was shot on 12 June during Ramadan when Saudi soldiers besieged his hometown.

Soldiers shot the child in his waist and right hand while he was sitting in his family's car, it is claimed. Witnesses say that there were no clashes in the area when security forces opened fire and shot live ammunition at the car. After suffering from "harrowing pain" for two months, Abu Abdallah died in hospital on Wednesday 9 August.

Human rights activists condemned Saudi forces for opening fire on a young child and called for an independent investigation into the shooting.

Sophie Baggott, Research and Policy Associate at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), told IBTimes UK: "The tragic death of this young child means an investigation into these shootings is now more urgent than ever. The Saudi security forces' haphazard firing of live ammunition at Awamiyah's civilians in June can no longer be an ignored incident.

"Saudi Arabia's failure to even acknowledge the fatal shooting of civilians shows contempt for the victims and provides the security forces with impunity."

Ali Adubisi, Director of the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), called for an "urgent United Nations Probe", commenting: "There is a clear absence of international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia's unprecedented violent military operations in Awamiyah."

Awamiya destruction
A side-by-side comparison of satellite images taken in February and July show the extent of the destruction in Awamiyah since Saudi troops laid siege to the city in May BIRD

Amawiyah has been under siege from its own government since May. Residents say that between 12 and 25 people have died in shelling and sniper fire. Satellite images show that parts of the city have been completely flattened and reduced to rubble.

The Saudi government has said that the 400-year-old city must be demolished because terrorists and drug dealers are using its abandoned buildings as hideouts.

The UN has demanded that Saudi authorities "immediately stop this demolition of cultural heritage and historic homes, and restore the human rights of their citizens."

Sajaad Abu Abdallah
Sajaad Abu Abdallah died in hospital on 9 August after he was shot by Saudi security forces in June during the holy month of Ramadan BIRD