Dubai: A Saudi soldier died in a gun battle with militants in the western Taif region outside Makkah on Sunday, state news agency SPA said.

Two assailants opened fire on a police station before retreating to the mountain village of Thaqeef where the soldier, named as private Saeed Al Harithy, was killed in an exchange of fire, SPA reported.

Troops found an explosive vest and bomb-making material and the security operation was ongoing, the news agency added.

Saudi forces have been caught in an escalating confrontation with Daesh militants in the past week after troops shot dead two Daesh fighters and two others blew themselves up during a raid on their compound outside the holy city of Makkah on Thursday.

Two other Daesh suspects were killed and a third was wounded in southwestern Bisha province on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia has been hit by a spate of deadly gun and bomb attacks on security forces and its Shiite community since last year. Daesh’s local branches have claimed many of them.