[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 04:18 GMT 05:18 UK
Saudi battle 'kills top suspects'
Saudi security forces
Saudi security forces have been cracking down on alleged militants
Two of Saudi Arabia's most wanted fugitives were among at least seven militants killed in a two-day gun battle, say reports in the country.

Abdulkarim al-Mejjati and Saud Homoud al-Oteibi were on a list of 26 suspects wanted by the government, said Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.

Fighting erupted after police officers surrounded a house in the northern town of al-Ras on Sunday morning.

More than 50 Saudi officers were injured, said officials.

Saudi security forces have been waging a campaign against Islamic militants blamed for a series of attacks on foreign workers and government offices.

The province of Qassim, in which al-Ras is based, is one of the most religiously conservative areas in the kingdom.

The shoot-out began early on Sunday and gunfire and grenade explosions could still be heard on Monday morning, according to witnesses.

Wanted list

State-run television interrupted regular programmes on Monday to air a statement by the interior ministry saying seven suspected militants had been killed and an eighth had been critically wounded.

The gunmen fled to a nearby building that was still under construction, provincial governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdul-Aziz was quoted as saying.

"They were asked to surrender, but those people are known not to listen," he told state television.

The suspected militants also reportedly used grenades against their attackers and several security vehicles were damaged.

Since 2003, Islamic militants have carried out suicide bombings and fought battles with security forces.

The attacks have tended to target foreign workers in the kingdom and have been blamed on groups linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda organisation.

Mr Oteibi and Mr Mejjati were among 26 men the Saudi authorities listed in December 2003 as being wanted in connection with the violence.

Mr Mejjati, a Moroccan, was linked to bombings in Casablanca in May 2003 and last year's Madrid train bombings, said Saudi security sources.

See the scene of the stand-off, north of Riyadh

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific