Saudi Arabia says it has detained 520 al-Qaida militants and supporters so far this year on suspicion of terrorist activities.
Saudi Interior Ministry said Wednesday that some suspects were planning
car bomb attacks against a Saudi oil installation and a security target.
officials say security forces rounded up 701 terrorism suspects in
recent months, but later released 181 for lack of evidence. Among the
detainees are Africans and Asians.
The Saudi government says the
suspects were part of a terrorist plot managed from abroad. They say
one detainee was found with a recorded message from al-Qaida's
number-two leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.
U.S. State Department
spokesman Tom Casey says the arrests are another indication that
al-Qaida and other terrorist groups remain a challenge for the Middle
East and the world.
Saudi authorities say security forces seized weapons, ammunition and cash from the suspects in raids on desert hideouts.
say police found the recorded Zawahri message during the arrest of an
al-Qaida cell leader in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.
Arabia is the birthplace of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, whose
organization has waged a campaign of violence against the U.S.-allied
Saudi monarchy since 2003.
But, Saudi Arabia has not seen any
major attacks for more than two years as Saudi leaders intensified a
crackdown on al-Qaida-linked groups.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.