Riyadh: A Saudi policeman had been stabbed during a security raid on a drug den in the south-western region of Jizan, Saudi news portal Ajel has reported.

The raid was launched by a unit from the Jizan anti-narcotics department on the site operated by African drug smugglers in Jizan’s governorate of Sabya late Saturday, the paper quoted unidentified sources saying.

During the crackdown, security forces encircled the site to prevent suspects from fleeing. But a smuggler managed to attack one law-enforcer and inflicted seven stabs on him in several parts of the body, mainly in the chest, the sources added.

The assailant was arrested, while the injured policeman was taken to hospital. Other smugglers were also nabbed and police seized a large quantity of hashish, according to the sources.

Smuggling and dealing in drugs are strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia and punished by the death penalty.

In February, Saudi authorities said they had executed three foreigners after they were convicted on drug offences.

Some 57 people were executed in the kingdom last year over crimes related to smuggling and trafficking in drugs, according to unofficial figures.