Security authorities have arrested 136 militants including foreign nationals who were allegedly planning to carry out terrorist operations inside and outside Saudi Arabia, an official source at the Interior Ministry announced yesterday.
The arrests took place in Riyadh, Dammam, Makkah, Madinah, Jizan, Qasim, Hail and Al-Jouf over the past two months, the source said, without identifying the suspects. Police confiscated weapons, foreign currencies, computers and other communication devices and different documents from the arrested militants. “By the grace of God, security forces were able to follow up suspicious movements of people having deviant ideas. They recruited people to travel to troubled areas, provided cover for wanted men and financed their operations that target the nation and its security,” the source said.
The source also pointed out that the arrested suspects had links with foreign groups. “They exploited the Umrah traffic to smuggle in people who were trained abroad.”
Interrogation of the militants led to information about other people related to them.
“We have informed their relatives to contact the nearest security agency or approach the nearest Saudi mission abroad to clarify their stand. Actions will be taken against those who fail to do so, as they will then be considered among the wanted,” the source said.
The security forces carried out the largest operation on Oct. 26 when they arrested 44 militants after simultaneous raids in Riyadh, Eastern Province, Qasim and Hail. “All of them were Saudis who formed an organization which tried to promote their takfiri (branding opponents infidels) ideology,” the source said. They were also linked with criminal elements and had formed financial, legal and media committees to carry out their plans inside the Kingdom. They also encouraged people to travel to violence-hit areas and provided them with assistance.
The second largest arrest took place in Riyadh on Sept. 12 when 31 suspects, including four expatriates, were held, the source said, adding that they had formed a cell that was closely linked with seven top Al-Qaeda militants.
“It appeared that the 31-member cell was awaiting orders to carry out crimes such as kidnapping innocent people, demanding ransom and killing some of them. They also planned to carry out attacks on businesses and banks,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the official as saying. Some of them had written their wills, which were to be revealed after their suicide operations.