"It became clear that five of the deviant group were killed and authorities proved through DNA testing that they were part of a group of wanted men previously announced," said the ministry in a statement carried on the official Saudi Press Agency.

Thursday's statement was the first time that the authorities had given a final tally of the insurgents slain in the Damman shootout.

One of the men had already been identified as the No 3 on the kingdom's new Most Wanted list: Zaid Saad Zaid al-Samari, 31, a Saudi.

The other four, all Saudis, were named in the statement as: Saleh Mansour Mohsen al-Fereidi al-Harbi, 22; Sultan Saleh Hussan al-Haseri, 26; Naif Farhan Jalal al-Jehaishi al-Shammari, 24; and Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Mohammed al-Suwailmi, 23.

Numerous attacks

The five were killed in a three-day battle with security forces in the east Saudi city.

Saudi officials tour the site of
the gun battle in Dammam

Four policemen were also killed in the confrontation which ended about midday on Tuesday when special forces stormed the seaside villa that the fighters had taken over.

Saudi Arabia uses the term "deviant group" to describe al-Qaida.

The government is waging a campaign against Muslim anti-government fighters who have staged numerous attacks since May 2003.

During the past year, Saudi forces have claimed a series of victories, killing or capturing all but one of the figures on the first list of 26 Most Wanted fighters, which was issued in December 2004.

They have also killed or captured at least five insurgents from the list of 36 Most Wanted suspects, which was issued in June.