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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Saudi forces clash with militants
Saudi security operation in the capital Riyadh
The fighting broke out as security forces inspected a site used by militants
Saudi security forces killed two suspected militants and wounded three others in an exchange of fire in the capital Riyadh, officials say.

The operation in the King Fahd District is also said to have resulted in the arrest of the family of the man thought to be al-Qaeda's chief in the country.

Official did not say if Saleh al-Oufi himself was involved in the fighting.

About 90 people have been killed in Saudi Arabia in the past year, in a series of attacks linked to al-Qaeda.

King Fahd declared a one-month amnesty for militants who turn themselves in.

Only a handful have surrendered to Saudi authorities, who have vowed to strike "with full might" when the deadline runs out in a few days' time.

Shoot-out

The Interior Ministry said the latest fighting broke out as security forces investigated a site used by suspected militants.

They came under fire from gunmen armed with bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, the ministry said in a statement.

Security forces returned fire at the gunmen "killing two of them and wounding three, who were arrested, as well as detaining the family of the wanted man Saleh al-Oufi, made up of his wife and three children".

Ex-policeman Mr al-Oufi was reported to have taken over as leader of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia a month ago after his predecessor was killed by police.

Three policemen were also wounded in the clash.

During the fighting a second group of armed men opened fire on security forces before escaping, the statement said.

Earlier, witnesses said they heard sporadic shooting and reported seeing one police car with smashed windows.





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