Four die in Saudi shootout

25 September 2003
Three suspected terrorists and one policeman died in a shootout in southern Saudi Arabia on 23 September. The incident in the region of Jizan, took place in the compound of the King Fahd hospital. Two other suspects surrendered to the police.

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).

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