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Saudi Security Forces Hunt for Militants Involved in Bombings

  • Greg LaMotte

At least seven militants were killed late Wednesday in Saudi Arabia following two bombings that government officials say appear to have been coordinated. Both attacks occurred in the capital Riyadh. Thursday, security agents spread out across the capital in search of other insurgents involved in the attacks.

In what a Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry official called a massive manhunt, security forces in the kingdom searched Thursday for insurgents who bombed two security headquarters in the capital Riyadh late Wednesday night.

Saudi officials said seven militants were killed following a gun battle with police, after insurgents set off a remote controlled car bomb in a traffic tunnel near the Interior Ministry. Police said the militants were killed in northern Riyadh after fleeing the scene of the blast that killed a limousine driver and injured at least five security agents.

The impact of the explosion shattered windows in the ministry building and damaged cars parked on the street.

About a half-hour later, a second explosion occurred about five kilometers away at a security troop recruiting center.

Authorities said two suicide bombers blew up their car prematurely after attempting to storm the center. At least a dozen security officers inside the center were injured.

Thursday, an Interior Ministry official said security forces, working on what were described as very strong leads, expect to soon round up additional insurgents involved in the double bombings. The same official, who asked not to be identified, blamed the attacks on groups associated with the terror group al-Qaida.

Earlier Wednesday, a suspected militant was killed in Riyadh after attacking security agents with a bomb. The suspect was killed following a gun battle with police. A day earlier, another suspect was killed in a shoot-out with police in the same neighborhood.

Insurgent attacks in Riyadh have been on the rise since May of last year, following a series of car bomb explosions against residential compounds that killed scores of Westerners.

The latest attacks follow the release, earlier this month, of an audiotape believed to have been made by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in which militants were praised for attacking the U.S. consulate in Jiddah that killed nine people.

The man on the tape urged his followers to attack oil installations in the kingdom in an effort to weaken the Saudi royal family and damage Saudi ties with the United States.