August 21, 2006

Saudi Arabia says Jeddah siege gunmen surrender

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Monday four
militants who were holed up in a building in the Red Sea city
of Jeddah surrendered after clashes with security forces.

"The four people surrendered to security forces after heavy
clashes," an Interior Ministry spokesman told Reuters. "Nobody
was hurt," he added.

The state-run Al-Ikhbariya television earlier said three of
the gunmen had been killed in the clashes.

The official Saudi Press Agency said two of the suspects
were among seven people who escaped from a detention center in
the capital, Riyadh.

In July, the kingdom said six Saudis and a Yemeni held on
security charges had escaped from the Malaz prison.

A government security adviser said then the men had no
proven links to al Qaeda militants, who are normally held at a
high security prison outside Riyadh.

Ikhbariya said the police evacuated 29 residents from the
apartment building, using a crane to lift off an Indonesian
driver, his wife and a child who had taken refuge on the roof.

The cabinet, in a statement issued after a weekly meeting,
said the kingdom "remains determined to stamp out terrorism"
and wanted an international effort to combat it.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has been
battling a campaign of violence by militants linked to al Qaeda
who want to topple the pro-U.S. monarchy and expel foreigners
from the birthplace of Islam.

The spokesman said it was too early to say whether the
gunmen were on a list of most wanted militants.

Security forces had arrested seven suspects in Jeddah on
Sunday, he said, but so far there was no known link between the
arrests and Monday's siege.

"The seven that we arrested on Sunday are not on the wanted
list but are being interrogated," he said.

Authorities in June said security forces had arrested 42
suspected Islamist militants in raids over the previous few