Hostage-taker shoots dead security man in Saudi capital - police

DUBAI (Reuters) - A gunman holding three labourers hostage in the Saudi capital Riyadh shot dead a member of the security forces when police tried to free the captives, police said on Monday.

The gunman was later arrested and the three labourers were freed, a police statement on Sunday's incident said. There was no immediate word on the man's identity or his motivation.

"An unknown man carrying an automatic weapon took three labourers hostage near al-Hamoud mosque ... and threatened to shoot passersby," state news agency SPA quoted a Riyadh police spokesman as saying in a statement. "When police surrounded him and asked him to drop his weapon he opened fire heavily," the statement said.

The security forces member was killed in an exchange of fire and two people, including a civilian, were wounded, he said.

The attacker was wounded and arrested, the police spokesman said.

Saudi officials have said this year they are concerned about a rise in domestic Islamist militancy due to conflicts in Iraq and Syria. The government has decreed tough penalties for terrorist crimes.

Earlier on Sunday, police reported that an unidentified attacker killed a member of Saudi Arabia's security forces near a village where unrest among the country's Shi'ite Muslim minority has been focused.