LAST Sunday, Saudi security forces besieged a house in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Dammam where suspected Islamist militants were hiding. On Tuesday, the Saudi security forces stormed the building in which suspected terrorists sought refuge. The storming of the house came after a three- day gun battle that led to the death of five alleged Islamist militants and four police officers. Ten other officers were wounded. Security officials said the building was now under their control.
The clashes began when security forces targeted two militants they said were wanted by the Saudi authorities.
An infamous Saudi Islamist, Zaid Al-Samari, 31, was named in local media reports as one of the two killed. He is thought to be on a list of 36 most wanted people sought in relation to several attacks in the kingdom since May 2003.
The US temporarily shut its consulate in neighbouring Dhahran city as a result of the stand-off in Dammam. Both cities lie on the east coast close to huge oil fields. The Saudi security forces have been engaged in a campaign against Islamic militants for the past two years. Since May 2003, militants have frequently targeted Western residents in suicide bombings and kidnappings. More than 140 people have been killed and more than 100 militants have died in the Saudi government's crackdown. The United States consulate in the nearby city of Damman was closed down on Monday amid fears of an escalation of violence in the kingdom's Shia-dominated oil-rich region.