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Saudi Forces Kill 7 Suspected Militants in Gunbattle

Saudi Arabian security forces say they have killed seven suspected members of al-Qaida in a fierce gunbattle in the northern part of the country.

An Interior Ministry spokesman Monday said the militants were killed in al-Ras, about 300 kilometers north of the capital, Riyadh.

Hospital officials reported earlier that at least 35 members of the security forces were wounded during the two-day shoot-out.

The fighting began Sunday when security forces surrounded a neighborhood and began searching for people linked to the terrorist organization.

The Saudi government began an anti-terror crackdown in May 2003, after al-Qaida linked militants began a series of deadly attacks on government facilities and Western targets in the kingdom.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.