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Saudi Arabia to Try Nearly 1,000 on Terror Charges


Saudi Arabia says it will try nearly 1,000 people suspected of involvement in a campaign of terror in the kingdom.

Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz issued a statement Monday saying 991 suspects will face charges related to 30 attacks since 2003 that claimed more than 160 lives.

He said security forces had stopped 160 other attacks planned by the suspects, who he said had links to al Qaida.

Prince Nayef said the suspects targeted Saudi Arabia's society, way of life, and economy.

The statement did not say when the trials would start. U.S.-based Human Rights Watch says it has asked Saudi Arabia for permission to observe the hearings.

The organization says the kingdom, which has no formal penal code, has been holding up to 3,000 people in detention for years, with many of them sent through so-called re-education programs.

Prince Nayef said authorities discovered three tons of explosives during their crackdown, as well as thousands of missiles, automatic weapons and cyanide.

The targets of the attacks included oil installations, government buildings and other facilities.

The strikes killed 90 Saudi and foreign civilians, and 74 members of the Saudi security forces.

More than 430 civilians and 650 security officers were wounded in the attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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