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Interior Ministry Official: Terrorist Threats against Saudi Arabia are not Over | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Muslim worshippers gather after a suicide bomber detonated a device near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Handout

Riyadh – Maj. Gen. Bassam Attia, director of the Investigations and Strategic Planning Center of the Interior Ministry, said that Saudi Arabia was facing continuous threats by terrorist organizations of religious nature.

Attia was speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper following Thursday’s announcement that the interior ministry has dismantled four terrorist cells in the Kingdom.

The ministry official discarded claims that the recent surge of terror cells in the country was linked to increased pressure on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

“Threats against the Kingdom will continue,” Attia said, adding: “all terrorist organizations of religious nature will keep on targeting the Kingdom.”

On Thursday, the interior ministry announced it has dismantled four ISIS cells suspected of providing shelter and financial support to wanted militants and recruiting fighters.

The terrorist cells were discovered in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh and Qassim regions, the ministry’s spokesman said.

In a press conference, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki noted that those cells had various terrorist activities, including providing a shelter for wanted persons, supporting and promoting ISIS ideologies on the internet, recruiting militants in favor of the terrorist organization, inciting people to participate in the fighting in conflict zones and providing financial support to the terrorist group.

The security spokesman added that 18 people of these cells were arrested until now, including two of Yemeni nationality, a Sudanese national and 15 Saudi nationals.

“Security authorities exert intense efforts to identify such cells. We cannot be certain about the number of cells still in operation, but often these cells are logistically important to the [terrorist] organization – they remain under the radar because their members are not directly linked to terrorist activities and are also careful,” he added.

Asked about the sources of income that such terror cells rely on, Turki said that the Kingdom was deploying tremendous efforts to fight terrorism financing, by organizing charitable work and closely cooperation with international counter terrorism financing bodies.