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Men Reportedly Attack Saudi Hospital Unit

September 23, 2003

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Four armed men seized foreign hostages in southern Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, before security forces stormed the building and freed the captives, Al-Jazeera television reported. Two policemen were killed, and the attackers surrendered.

The attack took place at a housing unit of a hospital near Jizan, about 600 miles south of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

A witness told the Arab satellite station that the gunmen exchanged fire with security forces after seizing the building. At least two security officers were killed, said the witness, identified as Abdallah Abu Ezz Edin.

The hostages were freed as the security forces moved in, and four gunmen surrendered, Abu Ezz Edin said.

It was not clear if the violence was linked to a Saudi crackdown on Islamic militants since May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh killed 26 people, as well as the nine attackers. More than 200 suspects have been arrested and more than a dozen killed in a series of high-profile police raids since then.