Riyadh (AFP) – Police in Saudi Arabia said Wednesday they had arrested two suspected militants and were hunting two others who fled following shootouts and raids that netted automatic weapons and a bomb belt.
The gunfire occurred in separate districts of Riyadh on Tuesday night as officers pursued an investigation into “deviant groups,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
Saudi authorities use the term to refer to Islamic extremists, although the ministry did not specifically mention any group.
The raids came after a series of attacks this year claimed by the Islamic State group that killed dozens of people in Saudi Arabia.
Two suspects opened fire and threw a grenade at police trying to arrest them in a residential area in the capital’s Monsia district, the ministry said.
Ahmed al-Zahrani, 21, and Mohammed al-Zahrani, 19, were detained.
At the second location, a Saudi coffee shop in Riyadh’s Dharma district, the suspects tried to flee in a vehicle after spotting the police.
“They then heavily opened fire at security officers,” who shot back and disabled their vehicle, the statement said.
The suspects then “seized a citizen’s vehicle by force and took off in it.”
Television pictures showed forensic police examining a pick-up truck with bullet holes in its windshield.
Officers found a bomb belt in the truck, the interior ministry said.
As the manhunt continued, Al-Ekhbaria television showed police checking cars on a highway.
Searches of the residential complex and coffee shop revealed a laboratory potential used for bomb making, several automatic rifles and pistols, ammunition, more than 400,000 riyals ($106,000) in cash and “sketches of targeted areas,” the ministry said.