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Saudi police and security stand near three bodies of victims Saturday.
(CNN) -- Four gunmen have attacked an oil company compound in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing at least 12 people and taking a number of hostages, according to informed sources and Saudi officials.
One American and one British citizen were among the dead, western diplomatic sources said. A U.S. State Department spokesman said two Americans are known to be wounded.
The U.S. embassy in Riyadh has advised all American citizens to leave Saudi Arabia, officials there said.
Sources said the dead also included several Saudis, three Filipinos, a Pakistani and a 10-year-old Egyptian boy -- whose father worked for an oil company at the compound in Khobar, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of the capital, Riyadh.
Saudi security forces tried to end the hostage standoff by storming the compound, but they were repelled by the barricaded gunmen, sources said.
The attackers released all of their Arab hostages but continued to hold westerners, according to western diplomatic sources.
A senior Saudi Interior Ministry official said the four attackers were on a list of wanted militants, many of whom had been linked to al Qaeda.
He also said it is believed they were under direction of people based outside Saudi Arabia.
A Web site previously used to publish statements for al Qaeda posted a claim of responsibility for the attack Saturday.
A previously unknown group -- calling itself "The Jerusalem Squadron" -- said a group of "brave fighters" attacked "Zionists and crusaders" who are in Khobar to "steal our oil and resources."
The attack started at about 7:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) when one group of gunmen disguised in Saudi police uniforms drove up to the APICORP (Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation) headquarters in Khobar, the sources said.
They shot and killed the guard at the main gate, who is believed to be a Saudi national.
Aftermath of the deadly attack.
Another group of attackers entered the Petroleum Center headquarters 30 minutes later, throwing an explosvie onto a schoolbus killing the Egyptian boy, the sources said.
A woman near the bus was injured and taken to the local hospital.
After entering the compounds, the militants opened fire at the buildings, before moving to Saad Center, which is part of Oasis compound. That is where they are believed to be holding hostages, some of which could be expatriates, the sources said.
Saudi police have sealed off the area in an effort to end the standoff. They cannot confirm a casualty count because the standoff is still continuing with heavy gunfire, according to witnesses.
Al-Arabiya television aired video of the scene, showing a man apparently shot dead still sitting in the driver's seat of a car. One car, riddled with bullet holes had blood covered seats, while another was burned out.
Saudi Arabia has been cracking down on terrorists since attacks on compunds in Riyadh in 2003. The government says dozens of terror attacks in the kingdom -- many blamed on al Qaeda -- have been foiled as a result.
Earlier this month, Swiss engineering company ABB evacuated its foreign workers from Yanbu in northwestern Saudi Arabia after gunmen stormed ABB's oil refinery compound on May 1 and killed five Westerners -- two Americans, two British, and one Australian.
Saudi officials said those who carried out the May 1 attack -- all four of whom were also killed in the exchange of fire -- were on a list of wanted militants, many of whom had been linked to al Qaeda and all of whom were from Arab nations.
And in April attackers bombed a security building in Riyadh, killing five people and injuring 148 more.
CNNArabic.com Editor Caroline Faraj in London contributed to this report.
If you're watching the news right now, they said that 50 hostages have been captured and 16 of them have been killed. Among the dead were a 10 year old boy, executed in public, and a British soldier who was dragged from behind a car for a mile.