2 foreigners killed, 5 hurt in explosion outside shop

A remote control bomb went off outside a shop in the eastern Saudi city of Khobar on Saturday, police said. Saudi television reported two people were killed and five injured.

All the casualties were non-Saudis, the television said. An American and a Briton were among the injured, officials in their home countries said, but there was no immediate word on the nationalities of the others.

The powerful blast on King Khaled Street, a shopping district popular with foreigners, shattered windows and damaged cars shortly before 8 p.m., witnesses said.

Police said the explosion was caused by a bomb placed outside the Al-Mushiri electronics and watch shop and detonated by remote control.

Rescue workers and firefighters searched through the wreckage as police sealed off the area.

Saudi Arabia has seen a number of bomb attacks since 1996--including two in Khobar--that Saudi officials said were linked to a settling of scores between criminals.

In 1996, 19 U.S. servicemen were killed when members of the dissident Saudi Hezbollah group bombed the Khobar Towers complex near Khobar. U.S. prosecutors have indicted 14 people in that case. Since the attack, U.S. military personnel have moved to Prince Sultan Air Base in the Saudi desert.

A White House spokesman said Saturday's blast appeared unrelated to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"We're collecting information, but at this point we have no reason to believe it is anything other than an isolated and unconnected event," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.