Saudi authorities arrest more than 700 suspected militants
June 25, 2008
Saudi authorities have arrested 701 suspected militants of different nationalities since the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Interior announced today.
Of the 701 suspects arrested, 181 have been released and 520 remain in custody for links to Al-Qaeda.
According to the Ministry, the suspects planned attacks on oil installations in the Kingdom. They were also recruiting and acquiring funds in various ways, including theft and fraud.
The arrests were the result of a series of security operations that also netted weapons, ammunition, electronics, documents and cash.
Documents found during the operations indicate that the suspects were engaged in recruiting in order to “revive the criminal activities in all regions of the Kingdom” to destabilize the country.
As part of their recruitment efforts, the suspects exploited religious beliefs and spread “misleading propaganda” on the Internet.
Some of the suspects had links with foreign organizations and used the Hajj as a means of communicating with militants abroad.
Security forces also discovered that militants abroad were taking advantage of facilities for pilgrims to recruit Asian and African individuals to carry out attacks in the Kingdom. These cells primarily targeted economic installations by seeking work at the sites, the Ministry said.
In addition, one of the suspects was found with a message from Al-Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Ministry said.
Another cell arrested in Yanbu was raising money by selling fake coupons for meat purchased by Muslims during the Hajj as part of their religious duty.
In May 2008, Saudi authorities arrested 28 militants of different nationalities linked to Al-Qaeda.