Saudis Nab Four Militant Suspects

Security forces have captured four suspected militants, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Sunday, the latest detentions in a Saudi crackdown on Islamic extremists in the kingdom.

Brig. Gen. Mansour al-Turki (search) said all four men were arrested before dawn Saturday. Two of them were detained in Temair, a village about 85 miles northwest of Riyadh, he said.

"The men did not resist arrest," al-Turki said of those two, adding they were arrested at different locations in the village.

Al-Turki refused to identify the men. However, local newspapers gave their names as Mohammed al-Abdullah and Rayess al-Rayess.

Okaz daily newspaper, which is close to the Interior Ministry, said al-Abdullah works as a teacher and was arrested in a mountainous area. The paper said al-Rayess was fleeing in a red car when he was caught.

Al-Turki said the two other men were arrested in the Khaleej neighborhood of Riyadh (search).

Those two men opened fire at security officers, he said, and one of the officers returned fire, slightly wounding one of the suspects.

The arrests were part of a crackdown on militants begun by the Saudi government after Al Qaeda-affiliated operatives attacked three residential compounds in Riyadh in May 2003. Several more attacks followed and a number of Westerners have been killed.

Since the start of the campaign, which includes public appeals to youths to avoid a militant path, the government has killed or captured many senior militants.

Last week, a clash killed three suspected militants, including one identified as Abdul-Majeed Mohammed Abdullah al-Moneea (search), No. 18 on Saudi Arabia's list of 26 most-wanted terror suspects. He was believed to have been a member of an Al Qaeda-affiliated group involved in killings, recruiting and issuing religious edicts sanctioning killings.

Despite the progress, officials say the threat remains that Al Qaeda (search) operatives in Saudi Arabia could strike again.