Saudi authorities say they have arrested 41 suspected militants since July in a series of raids targeting al-Qaida-linked militants in three Saudi cities.

An Interior Ministry statement issued Friday says the arrests prevented imminent attacks, but did not offer any details.

One Saudi security officer was killed in the operations, as were several wanted militants. Among them was Saleh al-Awfi, who Saudi officials say was al-Qaida's top leader in the kingdom. He was killed in a gunfight on August 18 with Saudi security forces in the holy city of Medinah.

Since May 2003, Islamic extremists have carried out several suicide bombings and other attacks targeting Saudis and westerners living in the oil-rich kingdom.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.