Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabian security services have arrested 88 people involved in promoting “extremist ideology,” the Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The Interior Ministry announced that the arrests had taken place over the past few days following months of investigation, and comes following the issuance of a royal order earlier this year designating a number of organizations as illegal terrorist groups.
The 88 individuals, including 84 Saudi nationals, 3 Yemenis and one suspect whose identity has yet to be determined, are alleged members or supporters of these outlawed organizations.
“Based on the painful reality that the region is passing through, and which allows those who advocate sedition to promote their extremist views and lure the people of the region into sedition, security apparatus over a period of several months have monitored all suspects, and particularly those with previous links to extremist ideology,” an Interior Ministry statement carried by state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
“Months of monitoring and security observation provided evidence to detain the suspects and thwart the plans that they were on the verge of carrying out, at home and abroad,” the statement added.
“Over the past few days, security forces carried out simultaneous operations in a number of Saudi regions to arrest a total of 88 suspects,” the Interior Ministry statement said.
The Saudi Interior Ministry confirmed that 59 of the 88 suspects had previously been arrested on charges relating to the “deviant group,” a term typically used to refer to Al-Qaeda.
Saudi Interior Ministry security spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, speaking at a news conference following the announcement, confirmed that the 88 suspects were detained for having links to “terror groups outside the Kingdom.”
“They [the suspects] were on the verge of committing acts of terrorism both in Saudi Arabia and abroad,” Al-Turki said.