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Men Reportedly Attack Saudi Hospital Unit

September 23, 2003

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Armed men attacked a housing unit of hospital in southern Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, taking foreign hostages before security forces stormed the building, Al-Jazeera television reported.

The gunmen and security forces were exchanging fire, a witness told the Arab satellite station. The witness, Abdallah Abu Ezz Edin, said the hostages _ mostly foreigners _ were released before the security forces moved in.

The hospital is near Jizan, about 600 miles south of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Abu Ezz Edin, speaking by telephone, also said at least two security officers were killed before the four armed attackers surrendered.

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.

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