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Saudi Forces Kill Three Militants

Associated Press
Monday, April 4, 2005; Page A16

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 3 -- Saudi security forces clashed with gunmen Sunday in a day-long gun battle near a northern town known as a stronghold of Islamic extremists, killing three suspected militants.

Fifteen members of the security forces also were wounded in the shootout in the town of Ar-Rass, about 220 miles northwest of the capital Riyadh, according to al-Ekhbariya television, which quoted the governor of al-Qassim province, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz.

Ar-Rass is near Buraydah, an extremist stronghold.

Security forces killed "three wanted terrorists" and forced the other militants to flee their hideout to a building that is under construction, the governor said, according to the satellite TV channel.

Brig. Gen. Mansour Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said there was a fight but disputed the casualty figures.

"There are a number of wanted terrorists inside" the building, Turki said in a phone interview. "They are resisting, but the resistance is much weaker than it was earlier."

Turki said the security forces had surrounded the building.

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