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Gunmen in Saudi Arabia Kill 5 Foreigners, Take Hostages - 2004-05-29

Gunmen have released five Lebanese hostages captured during a deadly attack on a foreigners' compound in Saudi Arabia.

Lebanese officials have given few details about the hostage release. They say the captives were among a large number of hostages seized at a housing compound near Khobar, a key commercial center next to Dhahran, the center of Saudi Arabia's oil industry.

Diplomat and Saudi security sources say there were multiple shooting attacks Saturday on housing compounds in Khobar.

At least one of the areas attacked housed foreign petroleum company workers.

Witnesses said gunmen wearing military-style clothing carried out the assault. Saudi security officials said the al-Qaida terror network was responsible.

Saudi Arabia launched a high-profile crackdown on terrorists following last year's attacks on housing compounds in Riyadh, the capital. A string of suicide bombings last year killed 50 people, including nine Americans. Those attacks also were blamed on al-Qaida.

Militants killed at least five Westerners at an energy complex in the Red Sea city of Yanbu earlier this month. A German chef was killed in a separate attack last week in Riyadh.