Saudi Arabia arrests dozens of ISIL suspects
Riyadh // Saudi Arabia has arrested nearly 100 suspected extremists, mostly linked to ISIL, and foiled several plots to carry out attacks including on the American embassy.
The arrests have taken place since December and most of those detained were Saudis, the interior ministry said in a statement published by the official news agency SPA.
It said two Syrians and a Saudi who had threatened to launch a suicide car attack against the US embassy in Riyadh last month were among those held.
US consular services in Saudi Arabia were suspended for a week in March over what was reported at the time as “heightened security concerns”.
Saudi security services had proof that led to the “early uncovering of terrorist activities in several parts of the kingdom”, the ministry statement said.
Saudi Arabia is part of a US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, where the group has seized swathes of territory.
Among the 93 arrested up to April 18 were 65 members of an ISIL-linked group plotting to target “residential areas, and operations to incite sectarian sedition” in attacks similar to the killing of seven members of the Shiite community in Eastern Province in November, the ministry said.
That group included a Palestinian, a Syrian and two stateless people.
They are accused of “recruiting young people”, “spreading the terrorist ideology” of ISIL, sheltering wanted individuals, training recruits and “coordinating travel to conflict zones”.
Another 15 Saudis formed a group linked to ISIL abroad, calling itself Jund Bilad Al Haramain.
It said that cell was led by a bomb-making “specialist” and was testing car bombs, planning to attack security headquarters, soldiers and residential areas.
Nine other Saudis, among them a woman, were arrested for allegedly promoting “terrorist organisations” on social networks and trying to “lure young people” to send them to conflict zones.
They had threatened to bomb government headquarters and residential areas, and “used the woman in a failed attempt to lure a military official and assassinate him”.
News of the arrests came as Saudi security forces on Tuesday detained a second suspect in the fatal shooting of two policemen blamed on ISIL.
The policemen were killed in an April 8 drive-by shooting in an eastern district of Riyadh.
Authorities had said on Friday that they had seized three bomb-laden cars during investigations into the killings.
Updated: April 28, 2015 04:00 AM