Saudi dismantles ‘terror’ group: ministry
Published on May 6, 2014 9:40 PM
RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia has dismantled a “terrorist organisation” that was plotting attacks against government installations and foreign interests, the interior ministry announced on Wednesday.
Authorities have arrested 62 suspected members of the group, among them three foreigners, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Al-Ekhbariya satellite channel.
Those arrested include 35 Saudis who had previously been detained on security-related allegations and released, it said.
Members of the organisation have “links with extremist elements in Syria and Yemen,” it said, adding that authorities are still hunting down 44 others whose names have been submitted to Interpol.
The statement said “suspicious activities on social networks” had facilitated the arrests, without providing further details.
The interior ministry in March published a list of “terror” groups, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, another jihadist group fighting in Syria and Iraq.
It also includes the little-known Saudi Hezbollah Shiite militant group, as well as Shiite Huthi rebels fighting in neighbouring Yemen.
The ministry has said it will prosecute anyone who back such groups “financially or morally", or who seeks to promote them in the media and on social networks.
It also forbids “participation in, calling for, or incitement to fighting in conflict zones in other countries” as well as calling for demonstrations or taking part in them.
After a wave of deadly Al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, Saudi authorities cracked down on the local branch of the group founded by the late Osama bin Laden, himself Saudi-born.
Members of that group went on to merge with Yemeni militants to form Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen and seen as one of the network’s most formidable affiliates.