During the last six months, Saudi security forces have arrested 701 militants for allegedly plotting to carry out terrorist attacks on oil facilities and other vital installations across the Kingdom, the Interior Ministry announced yesterday.
“Some of the arrested suspects were planning to stage terrorist attacks on oil fields and installations,” Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the ministry told Arab News.
He said the militants — Saudis and foreigners — were trying to regroup and strengthen the Al-Qaeda terror network in Saudi Arabia.
“The exact involvement of these new detainees, who were apprehended during the last six to eight months is not immediately known,” the spokesman said.
“However, the five terror groups mentioned in the statement are not linked to one another.”
He added: “Of the total 701 arrested, 520 are still in detention while the remaining 181 have been released as there was no evidence to prove their connection with terrorist groups.”
The large-scale security sweep has been carried out over the past few months in various parts of the Kingdom and police have confiscated weapons, ammunition, sophisticated electronic equipment and money from the militants.
In one instance, Al-Turki said a cell controlled by African immigrants was broken up in the oil-rich Eastern Province. The Africans were attempting to influence employees in oil installations to secure jobs. Without giving details, he said the cell had also begun planning an attack on “an oil site and a security target with car bombs.”
Al-Turki said many of the arrested militants, who have been publicizing and promoting Al-Qaeda ideology, had links with foreign organizations.
“These militants have also been recruiting innocent Saudis and foreigners into terror cells operating in the region,” he added. “These terrorists were using Haj as a means of bringing more foreign Al-Qaeda cadres into the Kingdom.”