Reuters International

Members of the Saudi security forces perform during a military parade in preparation for the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi security forces undertook an operation against alleged Islamic State fighters in Mecca on Thursday, state television channel Ekhbariya said.

"The security authorities succeeded in their operation against a number of Daesh partisans holed up at a recreational area in Mecca," the TV station said in a news flash, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic state.

It gave no details, but al-Okaz newspaper reported that the forces surrounded a group of men in the Wadi Noman area south of the city and four wanted men were killed in a gun battle.

In an earlier, two-day security operation that ended on Sunday, two Islamic State suspects were killed and a third was wounded in southwestern Bisha province.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has been hit by a spate of deadly shootings and bombings targeting security forces or its Shi'ite Muslim minority since last year. Islamic State's local branches have claimed many of them.

The group views Shi'ites as heretics but is also bitterly opposed to the wealthy Gulf kingdom's Sunni Muslim rulers, whom it regards as having betrayed Islam through close ties with the West.

(Reporting by Noah Browning and Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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