Bomb explosions in the Saudi capital

Militants launched coordinated car bombings and battled security forces in the Saudi capital Wednesday night in attacks that killed eight people, caused oil prices to jump and signaled that Islamic extremists are keeping up their fight despite the kingdom's crackdown on &to=http:// ' target=_blank>al-Qaida. A car bomb detonated near the Interior Ministry in central &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Riyadh-- killing a bystander, according to Saudi TV -- followed soon after by an explosion when suicide attackers tried to bomb a troop recruitment center.

At around the same time, militants and police clashed in northern Riyadh in fighting that Al-Arabiyah television said left seven militants dead, reports San Francisco Chronicle.

"The militants fled to a villa in the Taawun district, which was stormed by security forces who killed the seven," one said. "Four security men were gravely wounded in a shootout after storming the villa."

Security forces blocked the main access to the Taawun district, and an AFP correspondent saw three ambulances leaving the area. The raid occurred a couple of hours after the twin car bombings, the latest in a wave of attacks by suspected Al-Qaeda militants launched in the oil-rich kingdom in May 2003, says Channel News Asia.

According to the Turkish Press, the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>United States renewed a warning to its nationals to stay out of Saudi Arabia following a brazen attack claimed by Al-Qaeda militants on its consulate in the Red Sea city of Jeddah which killed five non-American staff members on December 6.

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