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Saudi Police Kill  2 Muslim Militants in Mecca Shootout - 2003-11-03

Saudi police say they have killed two Muslim militants in the holy city of Mecca, and seized a large cache of weapons.

The statement read on Saudi television says police surrounded the terrorists fortified hideout in the holy city of Mecca. It says the militants opened fire and police responded.

A Saudi Ministry of Interior official said the two men were killed as they tried to flee in their car, and the search for others continues.

The official said the police found several weapons in the car and seized machine guns, hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades and material on making explosives inside the house.

Reports quoted Saudi officials as saying the weapons and printed materials found indicate the militants are sympathizers of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.

Saudi Arabia has been cracking down on alleged Islamic militants since May, when suicide bombings targeting Western compounds killed 35 people in Riyadh. More than 200 suspected Muslim militants have been arrested and more than a dozen killed in police raids since the Riyadh attacks.

In June, a raid on an alleged terrorist cell plotting attacks in Mecca resulted in the death of five suspected al Qaida militants, and two security agents.

The Associated Press reports Saudi police have said that they will tighten security in Mecca, especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan.