2006 News Story

Saudi authorities announce arrests of 136 militants

Saudi security forces have arrested 136 suspected militants over a period of several months, the Ministry of Interior announced in a statement yesterday.  Most of the militants were Saudi nationals.

As part of these security operations, Saudi authorities seized weapons, cash in various currencies, documents, communications equipment, computers and disks. They also obtained information about others linked to the terrorists.

Some of the suspects were recruiting youths to travel to unstable regions and financing terrorist operations, the Ministry said.

Investigations also revealed links between militants in Saudi Arabia and foreign militants. They took advantage of the traffic during the umrah pilgrimage to send infiltrators outside of the Kingdom for training and then bring them back into the country to carry out attacks.

In the statement, the Ministry revealed the following details:

On September 12, 2006, a preemptive operation in Riyadh resulted in the arrest of 31 suspects, including four expatriates. It later emerged that the suspects had formed a cell and had planned to carry out a terrorist attack that was foiled. Some of the suspects wrote wills and explained that they planned to participate in suicide operations.

On October 11, 2006 a group of six Saudis were arrested in Al-Jouf Province. The suspects had used their families to hide wanted individuals and smuggle them outside the country.

A multinational cell of five militants, including one Saudi were arrested for hiding a wanted militant, who had been killed in a security operation in Dammam on September 5, 2005.

On October 15, 2006 16 suspects were arrested in different parts of the Kingdom, including Makkah, Riyadh, Jizan and Al-Jouf. The suspects were found to have links with militants outside the Kingdom who provided training and sent them back to Saudi Arabia. Of the 16, two were expatriates.

On October 27, 2006, security forces carried out simultaneous operations in Riyadh, Qassim and Hail Provinces as well as the Eastern Province that resulted in the arrest of 44 Saudis. The suspects belonged to a terrorist group that established financial, Islamic and information committees to implement their plans inside the Kingdom, including luring youths to travel abroad to troubled areas.

On October 28, 2006, a security operation in Hail Province resulted in the arrest of a 14-member cell that included one expatriate. The cell was spreading extremism and indirectly financing organizations and facilities to serve their purpose.

In October 2006, an eight-member cell was arrested in Qassim Province. The suspects were linked to a wanted militant and had facilitated travel for those planning on joining militants outside the Kingdom.

On October 31, 2006, security forces arrested a 12-member cell in Madinah that included 10 expatriates and two Saudis. The cell had links to militants outside the Kingdom as well as fundraising and recruiting.