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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
'Three dead' in Riyadh shootout
Scene of a shootout in Riyadh
Security forces moved in in the early hours of the morning
Saudi security forces shot dead three suspected militants in a gun battle in the capital Riyadh, the country's interior ministry has said.

Seven security officers were wounded in the clash, but none of their injuries were life-threatening, it added.

A spokesman said the security forces had stormed a building in the eastern Nahda district in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Saudi Arabia has been battling a wave of violence by Islamist militants.

More than 160 people have been killed in the past 18 months.

'Shields'

In a statement on the latest incident, the interior ministry said seven women and children were also in the house when it was raided.

It is not clear if they were family members or had been held there against their will.

"When they (the security forces) began searching the house, they came under heavy machine gun fire," the statement said, adding that the attackers also used hand grenades.

The women and children had been herded by the militants onto the first floor of the house "to use as shields and to mislead the security forces", it continued.

Security forces found weapons and documents in the house, the statement added.




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