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Muslim clash in holy city of Medina

Violent clashes have broken out between residents of the holy city of Medina on the day minority Shia Muslims commemorated the death of their most sacred saint, a Saudi security official said.

The official refused to elaborate on the cause of Thursday's clashes but said security forces were deployed to disperse the crowds. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

A Shia news website called Rasid reported that hundreds of Sunni hard-liners attacked Shias during the commemorations, known as Ashoura.

The day of mourning marks the killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein in the year 680 in present day Iraq.

Shias make up 10% of predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and complain of discrimination.

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