News / Middle East

Saudi Arabia Arrests Suspected Al-Qaida Cell Members

FILE - Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki gestures during a news conference in Riyadh.
FILE - Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki gestures during a news conference in Riyadh.
VOA News

Police in Saudi Arabia have arrested 88 men - half of whom are Saudis - and are suspected to be part of an al-Qaida terrorist cell operating in the kingdom.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said a number of the suspects had previously been detained on similar charges, but were released.

An Interior Ministry statement said the ministry had been following a number of suspects in view of what it called the spread of "strife and sick ideas" that lured members of the community to "places of strife".

Terror links

Some of the suspects had links to the Islamic State group operating in Syria and Iraq, to the Nusra Front group in Syria or to the al Qaida branch in Yemen, Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Turki told Reuters after a news conference.

"They showed their support to the organizations in Syria and Iraq and also in Yemen, and they wanted to get involved in their activities. Some of them tried to get ... instructions of what he should do, how he should act inside the kingdom," said Turki.

He said those who were in contact with militant groups overseas may not have also been in contact with each other.

Turki told the news conference that 48 of those arrested were Saudis and many had been planning assassinations.

Saudi Arabia has been battling al-Qaida for more than a decade, since militants threatened the monarchy.

Likely targets

The likely targets for assassination were government security officials, Turki said, but might also include clerics who argued against militant ideology.

Turki said that around 2,500 Saudis were believed to be involved in militant activities abroad, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.

He added that since King Abdullah in February decreed long prison terms for any who went abroad to fight, around 300 Saudis had been detained after returning to the kingdom from Syria and Iraq or being caught planning to travel there.

Riyadh has long expressed fears of being targeted by Islamist jihadists, including by some of its own citizens, who have taken part in insurgencies in Iraq and Syria.

King's warning to extremists

King Abdullah said over the weekend that countries ignored terrorism at their own risk, and warned that extremists could once again attack the United States and Europe.

Most of those arrested were Saudi nationals, and at least three were from Yemen.

Officials said security forces had been tracking the men for months.

Al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid, was a Saudi national whose family originated from Yemen.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (1)
Comments
     
by: Sunita from: India
September 02, 2014 6:11 PM
for decades, the Saudi filth have been sponsoring and promoting this exact sort of Islamic malignancy throughout the world. They have sponsored elections in Britain where Islamic sympathizers were elected and infected the judiciary and the parliament - remember "baroness" Warsi..? well, now the malignancy has metastasized into the heart of the filth... right into the core of this satanic ideology of fear, ignorance and barbaric atrocities. ISIS, ISIL, Hamas, MB, Islamic Jihad, PLO, Al Qaida, Hizbula, Boko Haram, Al Nusra, Al Shabab... the list of Islamic depravity is long...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid