|Prince Nayef led the country's crackdown on al-Qaeda fighters [GALLO/GETTY]
Security forces have shot dead a gunman as he opened fire on the Jeddah palace of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
"At 1am on Saturday, a person carrying a gun fired at a checkpoint in Abdulrahman Al-Malki Street in Jeddah. He was dealt with swiftly and was killed," a Saudi Press Agency (SANA) statement said.
Quoting a source close to the government, the AFP news agency reported that another man had also been arrested.
"Two men opened fire after midnight on the Qasr Shateh residence of Prince Nayef [and] the security
forces retaliated, killing one of them," the source told AFP.
The men, who were identified as members of the Zahrani family, were "under the influence of drugs" and one of them had a "small handgun," the source said.
He added that the nature of the attack was "individual and isolated" and did not bear the hallmarks of any organisation.
"The event is still under investigation," the statement by SANA said, adding that there were no other deaths or casualties.
Two years ago, the interior minister's son, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Al Saud, who oversees the country's counter-terrorism programme, survived an attempt on his life by a suicide bomber posing as a repentant fighter.
Prince Nayef, who is believed to be in his late 70s, was appointed as second deputy prime minister in 2009.
He is third in line to the throne and led the country's crackdown on al-Qaeda fighters who aimed to destabilise the country between 2003 and 2006.