RIYADH - Saudi Arabia said two men who were shot and killed last week in the eastern city of Dammam had been planning an attack and were in possession of explosives that could have been used to deploy a car bomb.
The Presidency of State Security, which deals with counter-terrorism and domestic intelligence, said in a statement published on Sunday by the state-run Saudi Press Agency that the two Saudi men had been wanted by police. They were identified as Ahmed Abdullah Saeed Suwaid and Abdullah Hussain Saeed al-Nimr.
Saudi security said the two were killed on Wednesday in a shootout with police after refusing to surrender. The statement said investigations and the arrest of a third person showed the group had been planning an "imminent terrorist operation," and were in possession of 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of a highly explosive substance, a machine gun, two pistols and live ammunition.
Saudi Shi'ites, who are a minority in the mostly Sunni Muslim kingdom, make up the bulk of the population in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich eastern region, including the city of Dammam where the incident took place.
Dammam, like other cities in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, was roiled by Shi'ite-led anti-government protests in 2011 and 2012. As the Saudi government cracked down on the protests, some protesters took up arms against police and were branded as "wanted" by state security. Some have since been killed in shootouts with security officers. Others have been detained, tried and executed.