Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi security forces stormed a militant hideout on Tuesday, ending three days of fierce fighting where according to security sources had left at least six suspects and four police officers dead.
Saudi television showed a large weapon haul, including automatic rifles and grenades, seized after the siege ended.
Gunfire and explosions had rocked the Mubarakiya district in the eastern Saudi city for hours Tuesday morning as Special Forces dropped off by helicopters besieged the villa. At one point, an explosion blasted debris and sent smoke billowing out of a neighboring building.
An Interior Ministry statement confirmed the fighting had ended and said the police “cleared and secured” the house and had found “charred corpses” inside.
A security source estimated at least six militants had died. The Ministry said four security troops were killed in the siege and 10 wounded in three days of fighting.
Residents had been allowed to return to their homes said a correspondent at the scene for Saudi’s al Ikhbariyah TV.
The Interior Ministry said the gunmen were affiliated with a “deviant group”, a term used to describe al Qaeda in the Kingdom.
The fighting began Sunday when running battles between police and militants erupted in a seafront district of Dammam, killing two militants before other fighters fled to the villa where they were surrounded.
One of the dead militants was identified by security sources as 31 year old, Zaid al Samari, the No.3 on the country’s most wanted list of terrorists sought in connection with numerous attacks in the Kingdom.
The shootout temporarily closed down the US consulate in the nearby city of Dhahran.
Residents were kept awake on Monday by sporadic gunfire and the deafening explosions of rocket-propelled grenades fired by Special Forces at the villa.
Late Monday night, officials at the city’s Central Hospital said about 30 police officers had been admitted with a variety of injuries with some critically wounded. Security officials refused to give overall figures for the dead and wounded.
Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a campaign against Islamic militant for the last two years.
Last month, security sources killed al Qaeda’s top leader in the country, Saleh al Awfi in a police raid Medina.
Since May 2003, Islamic militants have carried out numerous attacks, suicide bombings, and kidnappings across Saudi Arabia. More than 140 people have been killed and more that 100 militants have died in the government’s crackdown.