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Saudi Officials: Al-Qaida Members Caught During Police Raids - 2003-06-18

Saudi officials say al-Qaida terrorists are among those arrested or killed during a recent wave of police raids in Islam's holiest city.

Seventeen suspected terrorists killed or arrested this week during police raids in the holy city of Mecca are members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist group al-Qaida, according to Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz.

Five militants were killed and 12 others taken into custody during a police raid last Friday on an apartment in Mecca.

That raid resulted in the seizure of more than 70 bombs, 12 automatic rifles, six guns, ammunition, communication devices, chemicals, acids, masks, and booby-trapped copies of the Koran.

Police said the suspects may have been linked to the May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh that killed 35 people and injured dozens of others.

The Interior Ministry said the terrorists were planning imminent attacks in the holy city.

Among the 12 taken into custody were seven Saudis, three from Chad, an Egyptian, and an unidentified man.