A ministry official quoted by the official SPA news agency on Tuesday said security forces had laid siege to a house where insurgents were hiding out after a fourth was spotted in the area.
The fighters opened fire at the security squad, which responded, "killing one as well as wounding and arresting another, while the third surrendered," the official said.
The dead man was not identified.
Two security officers were lightly wounded, the official added.
Security forces found a substantial arms cache in the house including machine guns and hand grenades, in addition to various kinds of ammunition, the official added.
Saudi Arabia, stung by a string of attacks which have killed about 100 people since May 2003, has arrested hundreds of insurgents.