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4 Saudi terrorists die in desert shootout

| Monday, Jan. 10, 2005

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi police killed four terrorists believed linked to al-Qaida after the militants fled their desert tent Sunday while throwing hand grenades at surrounding forces, the Interior Ministry said.

Authorities asked the militants to surrender after surrounding their tent some 170 miles north of the Saudi capital Riyadh, the ministry said.

But the militants refused and tried to flee in a car while hurling hand grenades, the statement said. The four were killed by the police at about 7:30 a.m. Three Saudi security personnel were slightly injured.

The statement said the four suspects belonged to the "deviant group" -- a term used by the government to describe followers of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.

Weapons, explosives, ammunition and documents were found in the tent, the statement said without identifying the militants.

Last month, two wanted al-Qaida militants were among 10 extremists killed in clashes with police after two suicide car bombs in the Saudi capital targeted the Interior Ministry and a recruiting center for the kingdom's anti-terrorism forces.

About five of the kingdom's 26 most-wanted militants remain unaccounted for since authorities began cracking down on al-Qaida-linked militants.

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