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Saudi Authorities Arrest Scores With Alleged Link to Terrorist Bombings - 2003-07-02


Saudi Arabia's interior minister says 124 suspects have been arrested in his country for alleged links to the May suicide bombings that ripped apart western compounds in the capital, Riyadh.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said the scores of terrorist suspects were arrested in connection with the May 12 suicide bombings that killed 35 people, including nine Americans, in the capital.

The prince told a news conference in Riyadh that the suspects were undergoing interrogation. He said they were arrested at sites across Saudi Arabia, including the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Prince Nayef was quoted in the Arabic language Hayat newspaper as saying the suspects included non-Saudi nationals as well as women.

He had said earlier that many of those detained came from Afghanistan or were involved in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

The new total of arrested suspects more than doubles the number given last week by Saudi authorities who, in the wake of the Riyadh attacks, have mounted a nationwide crackdown on suspected terrorists.

Last week, Saudi officials announced the kingdom had detained the suspected mastermind of the Riyadh attacks, identified as Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, also known as Abu Bakr.

U.S. officials describe Mr. al-Ghamdi as the most senior al-Qaida operative in Saudi Arabia.

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