Two Saudi guards killed on Yemen border: official

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 07, 2011 7:59 AM
Two Saudi guards killed on Yemen border: official

RIYADH (Reuters) - Two Saudi border guards were killed and one was wounded by a man trying to cross into Yemen early on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said.

The man trying to enter Yemen was also killed, Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told Reuters.

The shootout took place in the southern province of Najran after midnight on the porous border with Yemen, sometimes used by smugglers, illegal migrants and Islamist militants.

Saudi television station al-Ekhbariya had earlier reported that three border guards had been killed.

The two policemen killed were a colonel and a sergeant. The wounded policemen was also a sergeant, Turki said.

"We are investigating and we will release a statement as soon as we know the man's identity," he added.

The man shot at the guards with an automatic weapon while driving a jeep and was killed in the exchange of fire, state news agency SPA reported.

Last year drug smugglers shot dead two Saudi border guards.

Sporadic fighting has flared in Yemen after President Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia at the weekend for surgery on wounds suffered in an attack on his palace in Sanaa.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia fears an al Qaeda wing based in Yemen will exploit instability there to stage more attacks inside the kingdom. Several Saudi militants crossed into Yemen to join the group after the authorities halted a deadly al Qaeda campaign of attacks and bombings that lasted from 2003 to 2006.

Saudi Arabia, which has funded Yemeni tribes as well as Saleh's government, intervened militarily on Sanaa's side against "Houthi" Zaidi Shi'ite rebels near the border in 2009.

(Reporting by Jason Benham; Editing by Alistair Lyon)