Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Eastern Saudi Arabian city of Dammam witnessed its first clashes between security forces and suspected Islamic militants on Sunday in two security operations which killed two extremists and a police officer.
The fist confrontation occurred in the afternoon at a large shopping malls located in Street number one and resulted in the death of one suspect and the injury of another in an armed confrontation with the security forces who did not suffer any casualties.
In the Mubarakiya neighborhood, by the city’s Cornishe, the police used special equipment to surround the house where three suspected militants were staying. As forces flooded the area, they pleaded with neighbors to remain indoors to guarantee their safety. A police officer was killed in the exchange of fire that ensured.
Saudi TV aired footage of the body of a slain militant slumped on a street while wearing a traditional white gown stained with blood.
A statement released by the Ministry of Interior indicated the security forces tracked down two wanted militants in Dammam “affiliated to a deviant group”, a term used to refer to al Qaeda members in the Kingdom. The Ministry added that one security officer lost his life in the crackdown.
An eyewitness and shopping mall employee told Asharq Al Awsat he had been asked by the security forces to follow two suspects and confirm they were carrying concealed weapons. The suspected militants noticed the police closing in and tried to escape. One was shot and killed as he attempted to run away through the main entrance and the other was injured as he ran to the back exit and was later taken to hospital for treatment.
Others bystanders said the facial features and demeanor of the suspects, aged between 25 and 30, did not indicate they were militants as the men acted normally.
The suspected militants are thought to have come under surveillance by the security forces as soon as they arrived in the eastern city on Thursday. According to the retired Lieutenant Abdul Rahman al Harbi, the latest operation is part of the ongoing crackdown on militants to stop terrorist activities and spread security across Saudi Arabia.