Saudi officials say that police were called to the area in order take part in a raid on a house where five suspected militants were hiding. A number of the group were wanted in connection with the Riyadh compound bombings on 19 May. However, the men fled to the hospital and took a number of hostages. ‘They were intending to carry out terrorist operations and were armed with machine guns and hand grenades,’ said a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman. ‘They were asked to surrender but started firing at security forces.’

One of the arrested men has been named as Sultan Jubran al-Qahtani, a Saudi citizen who is on the most-wanted list of the US’ FBI. The arrests are the latest in a crackdown by the Saudi authorities on suspected Islamist militants. More than 200 men have been arrested so far (MEED 26:9:03).