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RIYADH: A car that exploded in eastern Saudi Arabia killing its two occupants was carrying munitions, the interior ministry said on Friday.

The Thursday evening blast was the latest incident in Qatif, which has seen rise in criminal violence as well as protests in the region.

Police spotted a stolen sports utility vehicle used "to carry out terrorist and criminal crimes" and then took "necessary action", a ministry statement said, without detailing what tactics police used.

"As a result, it caught fire and exploded," killing its two occupants.

"An investigation is underway to reveal the identity of those two individuals."

Police found firearms and ammunition, some of which exploded as a result of the blaze, the ministry said.

Footage that circulated on social media showed thick smoke rising from a vehicle engulfed in flames, with periodic sounds of explosions.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017

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