[Washington, DC] – Saudi police arrested six suspected Al-Qaeda militants after a shootout yesterday in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. The raid on an apartment triggered a shootout that left two suspected terrorists dead, and one security officer wounded. Officers also seized a large cache of weapons they believe were stockpiled for attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The militants had rented the apartment for just the month of Ramadan.
Interior Minister Prince Nayef said that police captured four suspects and two others surrendered to authorities.
Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, stated: "The fact that these criminals were preparing attacks in the holy city of Makkah, during the holiest of months, is a clear indication that they have no respect for Islam or humanity, and that they are cultists driven by a desire to inflict harm on the innocent."
In a speech on the final day of the Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia last month, Crown Prince Abdullah, addressing leaders from the Islamic world, stated: “Islam is innocent of violence, hatred and terrorism. It is a religion of kindness, mercy and tolerance. We should not allow a minority of deviant terrorists to inflect on Islam and tarnish its image. The bullets that kill women and children, terrorize those secure in their safety, and destroy innocent communities, do not come from rifles but from deviant thoughts and misguided interpretations of our great religion and its noble message.”
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been relentless in the pursuit of suspected terrorists and those who finance them or condone their actions. More than 600 suspects have been arrested since September 11, 2001, a number of terror cells have been broken up, arms caches seized, and suspected bank accounts frozen. Prince Bandar stated: “We are determined to rid our country, and the world, of the scourge of terrorism. We will pursue them and those who support them vigorously and without mercy.”