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Saudi Officials Arrest Suspected Terrorists, Seize Large Arms Cache - 2003-07-21


Saudi Arabia says it has arrested Monday a group of suspected terrorists and seized a large cache of arms, explosives and chemicals.

Saudi officials say 16 people were arrested in a series of raids. It is not clear when or where the arrests took place, and the names of those arrested have not been disclosed.

But Arabic news channels broadcast Saudi state footage of confiscated weapons, explosives and fake passports. Saudi officials said they had seized 72 kilograms of explosives, along with detonators, night-vision goggles, surveillance cameras, bulletproof vests and more than 20 tons of chemicals used to make explosives.

It is not known whether any of those arrested were connected with the May 12 attacks on Western compounds in Saudi Arabia that killed 35 people. Officials have linked al-Qaida terrorists to the May attacks.

Meanwhile in Morocco, proceedings have begun in the trial of 52 people in connection with suicide attacks in May that killed 44 people in Casablanca. A Moroccan court on Monday postponed hearings until Friday to allow defense lawyers more time to prepare.

The accused include two alleged suicide bombers who survived their attacks. Under anti-terrorism legislation approved by the Moroccan government within days of the attacks, the defendants can be sentenced to death if found guilty of participating in or facilitating terrorist attacks.