Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Middle east

Saudi Arabia arrests 149 people linked to al Qaeda, foils terror plots

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-26

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry said Friday that security forces had arrested 149 people with links to al Qaeda, most of whom were Saudi nationals, over the past eight months. The ministry also stated that several terror attacks had been foiled.

REUTERS - Saudi Arabia has arrested 149 people from 19 cells linked to al Qaeda over the past 8 months and foiled attacks against government and security officials, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The announcement comes as elderly Saudi King Abdullah is in the United States recovering from surgery to treat a blood clot complication from a slipped disc.

“In the past eight months 149 people linked to al Qaeda were arrested, among them were 124 Saudis and 25 were from other nationalities,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki told a news conference.

The non-Saudi suspects were Arabs, Africans and South Asians, he said, adding that the thwarted cells had links to al Qaeda in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

“These cells have links with al Qaeda who are disturbing the security in Yemen, with Somalia and organisations in Afghanistan,” Turki said.

The ministry confiscated 2.24 million riyals ($597,000) from al Qaeda suspects, he said, and militants had tried to collect money and spread their ideology during the Muslim pilgrimages of Haj and Umra in Saudi Arabia.

Turki also said the attackers were also planning to target government facilities but did not say whether they included oil installations.

The television channel al Arabiya reported on Friday that the kingdom had also foiled plans to attack Saudi oil installations.

A Saudi Arabian counter-terrorism drive halted a violent al Qaeda campaign in the Gulf Arab country from 2003 to 2006. Al Qaeda’s Yemeni and Saudi wings merged in 2009 into a new group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen.

“The organisation is trying to recruit people inside the kingdom. There are cells that facilitate (the recruits) to travel outside (the kingdom) to train and then they return ... they exploit the Haj season for this purpose,” Turki told journalists at the press conference.

Those who had donated money were not aware they were giving to militant organisations, he said.

Saudi concerns about al Qaeda’s presence in Yemen surged after the kingdom’s top anti-terrorism official, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, was slightly hurt in a suicide attack in August last year by a Saudi posing as a repentant militant returning from Yemen.

The arrests announced on Friday follow one of the largest al Qaeda sweeps in years by Saudi Arabia earlier this year. In March, the kingdom arrested 113 al Qaeda militants including suicide bombers who had been planning attacks on energy facilities in the world’s top oil exporter.

The March arrests netted 58 suspected Saudi militants and 52 from Yemen. The militants, who also came from Bangladesh, Eritrea and Somalia, were backed by the Yemen-based AQAP.

The arrested suspects will not be sent to a rehabilitation programme, Turki said, but will be put on trial. They could be sent to rehabilitation programmes after serving their sentences and showing repentance, he said.

There were still other suspects at large and the ministry asked that they turn themselves in, Turki said.

Date created : 2010-11-26

  • TERRORISM

    Al Qaeda affiliate claims cargo plane bomb plot

    Read more

  • RELIGION

    Hajj pilgrims gather for Eid al Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice

    Read more

  • TERRORISM

    Yemen bomb disarmed 'with minutes to spare'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)