Four killed in 'foiled' attack on Saudi police station: Reports

The attackers were carrying machine guns, bombs and petrol bombs, state-owned Al Arabiya reported.

    Armed groups have targeted security installations for years in Saudi Arabia [File: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters]
    Armed groups have targeted security installations for years in Saudi Arabia [File: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters]

    Four people have been killed in a foiled attack on a police station in Saudi Arabia's central Riyadh province, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Sunday, citing sources.

    The four casualties had helped carry out the attack at the police station in Zulfi, a small city around 250km northwest of the capital Riyadh, Al Arabiya said.

    The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting a spokesman for the state security services, said three policemen were also wounded and that an investigation had been launched to identify the perpetrators.

    "A group of terrorists launched a desperate attack that was repelled," SPA said, without giving further details.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq website. 

    Online videos - which Reuters news agency could not immediately verify - showed a car at a checkpoint with its doors open and two bloody corpses splayed on the ground nearby. Gunshots could be heard.

    The attackers had rammed a vehicle into a security barrier around the base in an attempt to gain entry, London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported. 

    Two gunmen then stepped out of the vehicle and opened fire, sparking a gun battle with police, who killed them, the paper reported.

    A third was shot as he attempted to flee while a fourth died as he tried to set off an explosive belt, the paper said.

    Al Arabiya said the attackers had been carrying machine guns, bombs and petrol bombs.

    Citing its own correspondent, it said they were Saudi fighters who belonged to ISIL. 

    Armed groups have targeted security installations for years in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, after the authorities crushed an uprising of members of al-Qaeda more than a decade ago.

    On April 7, two men armed with explosives were killed and two others arrested as they attacked a security checkpoint in a predominantly Shia region in eastern Saudi Arabia, which has seen years of demonstrations against the Sunni royal family.

    Last year, a member of the security forces and a Bangladeshi resident were killed in an assault on a security checkpoint in nearby Buraidah and a policeman was killed in a separate attack in the western city of Taif.

    The Saudi Ministry of the Interior did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Zulfi attack.

    SOURCE: News agencies