RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said Monday that security forces killed two suspected militants and arrested three others during a series of counterterrorism raids, who state-linked media said were part of an alleged Islamic State cell.
The official Saudi Press Agency carried the Interior Ministry statement, which said the simultaneous raids targeted sites around the capital, Riyadh, and in the Eastern Province city of Dammam. All five suspects were identified as Saudi nationals.
The statement said one of the suspects had previously been imprisoned for three years after being repatriated from Iraq, though it did not specify if his imprisonment was for links to militant groups there.
The statement said the two suspects killed in the raids, which took place 12 days ago, had fired on security forces.
The ministry said the five were planning an imminent attack inside the kingdom. Images broadcast on state TV and on local news websites show security forces retrieving weapons and bomb-making material from an underground hideout and from inside a residence.
Several state-linked news websites, such as Al-Eqtisadiah, reported the cell as belonging to the Islamic State group.
The privately-owned Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya said those targeted in the raid were linked to a suicide bombing in the southwestern city of Abha. That Aug. 6 attack was claimed by a previously unknown Islamic State affiliate in the western region of Saudi Arabia.
The bomber targeted a mosque inside a police compound, killing 15 people, 11 of them security personnel. It was the deadliest attack on the kingdom's security forces in years.
Saudi Arabia is part of a U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
This story has been corrected to show that state-linked media, and not the Interior Ministry statement, linked the suspects to the IS group.