Policeman dead, three wounded in Saudi militant clashes

One policeman was killed and three others were wounded in clashes with militants today in a town north-east of Riyadh, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV reported.

One policeman was killed and three others were wounded in clashes with militants today in a town north-east of Riyadh, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV reported.

The station quoted witnesses as saying that the clashes took place in al-Baradah, 250 miles north-east of Riyadh.

The station, monitored in Cairo, said that one of the wounded policeman was in critical condition.

The region has been a site of frequent attacks linked to al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia. In April, four security officers were killed when a group of militants opened fire on a checkpoint in the region.

Today’s clashes came a day after the surrender of a wanted militant identified by Saudi authorities as Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Moqrin.

Al-Moqrin was accused in a May attack in the eastern city of Khobar that killed 22 people, most of them foreign oil industry workers.

He is believed to be related to Abdul Aziz al-Moqrin, believed to have been al-Qaida’s chief in Saudi Arabia when he was killed in June.

Saudi Arabia offered a month long amnesty that expired in July to encourage wanted militants to surrender. The authorities pledged not to seek the death penalty against those who surrendered.

Four men surrendered to Saudi authorities under the amnesty. None, however, was considered a hardcore militant.

Since May 2003, suspected Islamic militants have carried out numerous suicide bombings and kidnappings, and have engaged regularly in gunbattles with security forces.

The attacks, which have tended to target foreign workers, have been blamed on the al-Qaida terror group and its allies.

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