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Saudi Forces Kill 3 Militants in Jeddah - 2004-04-23

Saudi authorities say security forces have killed three wanted militants during a heavy exchange of gunfire in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

An Interior Ministry statement says fighting broke out late Thursday, when security forces surrounded a half constructed building where the militants had taken refuge.

The Saudi statement said security forces also captured one suspected militant. It did not indicate how many militants were holed up in the building.

The clash in Jeddah occurred a day after a suicide car bombing in the capital, Riyadh, killed four people and wounded 148 others.

A Saudi militant group, the Al Haramain Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted special security and anti-terrorism units in the Saudi capital. Saudi officials say they suspect the militant group has ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.

The kingdom's top cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, said those responsible for the suicide attack would "burn in hell."

The Al Haramain Brigades previously had claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Saudi security officer's car last year in Riyadh.