Saudi Arabia executed 37 citizens found guilty of various terrorism-related charges, the government said on Tuesday, including many Shiite Muslims arrested in connection with violence and unrest in the kingdom's Eastern Province.
It added that the individuals had been found guilty of attacking security installations with explosives, killing a number of security officers and cooperating with enemy organisations against the interests of the country, and had been ordered to be executed by the specialised criminal court in Riyadh, where terrorism trials take place, and the country's high court.
The men were executed "for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilise security", said the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
One of the executed, Khaled bin Abdel Karim al-Tuwaijr, was publicly pinned to a pole for several hours.
Saudi Arabia's supreme council of clerics, reportedly all ultraconservative Sunnis, said the executions were carried out in accordance with Islamic law.
Such actions are traditionally carried out after midday prayers. The attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State group.
Mujtabaa al-Sweikat, one of the people executed on Tuesday, was arrested at an airport in Saudi Arabia's eastern province in December 2012 as he was preparing to leave the country for a college visit to Western Michigan University, the group said.
At least 100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, according to a count based on official data released by SPA.
Also, on Sunday four Islamic State gunmen were killed by Saudi security forces while trying to attack a security building north of the capital, Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has clamped down on a variety of perceived threats over the past few years, ranging all the way from local Islamic State sympathizers to women's rights activists authorities said had undermined state security.
The biggest mass execution to take place in Saudi Arabia in recent years was on 2 January 2016 when 47 people were killed on one day over "terrorism" offences. In 2018, Saudi Arabia carried out 149 executions during the whole year. They include 11 men convicted of spying for Iran and 14 men who were convicted of violent offenses related to anti-government protests. The most stunning, however, was the 1979 siege of the mosque housing Islam's holiest site in Mecca.
Some 2,500 Saudis, many of them young and well-educated, fought in Syria at the start of that country's civil war before the kingdom criminalized fighting overseas in early 2014.