Saudi Arabia announces 149 al-Qaeda arrests in last eight months

Saturday, November 27, 2010

149 people have been arrested by Saudi Arabia over alleged al-Qaeda connections in the past eight months, it was announced yesterday. 2.24 million riyals (£400,000; $600,000) has been confiscated, as have weapons.

Mansour al-Turki of the interior ministry identified three wholly independent networks — all unaware of each other — and multiple smaller cells. "We have foiled about 10 attacks... I cannot say if oil installations were also targeted or not," he said, claiming al-Qaeda recruit within the nation, take people abroad to train and then send them back.

The announcement follows a similar one in March in which 113 were arrested over alleged attack plots against oil and security targets. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter. Authorities say targets of the newly-foiled attacks included officials and journalists.

Of the 149, 124 are locals and twenty-five were foreigners. Links to Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan are reported; nationalities are given as originating in Africa, South Asia, and the Arab states.