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Saudi Interior Ministry announces arrest of 135 terror suspects - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A member of the Saudi border guards force stands guard next to a fence on Saudi Arabia's northern borderline with Iraq, in this July 14, 2014 file photo. (Reuters/Faisal Nasser/Files)

A member of the Saudi border guards force stands guard next to a fence on Saudi Arabia’s northern borderline with Iraq, in this July 14, 2014 file photo. (Reuters/Faisal Nasser/Files)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested 135 terror suspects, including 26 foreign nationals, on charges of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks inside the Kingdom, according to the Ministry of Interior.

During a press conference on Sunday, the ministry’s spokesman Mansour Al-Turki said the arrests were part of a nationwide campaign which had detained a number of terrorist suspects with links to foreign militias seeking to recruit Saudi nationals.

Some of the suspects had been smuggling residents of the Qatif province out of the Kingdom for terrorist training before bringing them home to carry out attacks, Turki added.

“Deluded Saudis are being intellectually exploited and prepared to implement the goals of terrorist groups,” Turki said.

Turki said the militias have links with and operate under the influence of foreign entities, though declined to give further details.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, a senior security official said the suspects have links with militias based in Iraq that were seeking to undermine security and stability and create chaos in the Kingdom.

Turki confirmed that the suspects in custody included 16 Syrians, thee Yemenis, an Egyptian, a Lebanese, an Afghan, an Ethiopian, a Bahraini, and an Iraqi.

Forty of the suspects were arrested in different areas for “going to zones of conflict, joining extremist groups and training in the handling of weapons . . . before returning to the kingdom to destabilise the country,” he said.

According to Turki, 54 of the suspects have been arrested on charges of providing support to terrorist groups, including “funding, recruiting, issuing fatwas, spreading [propaganda] . . . and manufacturing explosives.”

Seventeen of the detainees were involved in the recent riots that took place in the Shi’ite-majority Al-Awamiyah town near Al-Qatif province.

The ministry called on all citizens and residents to remain vigilant and cautious of plots to destabilize security, and urged them to report any suspicious activities to the authorities.