RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested 136 militants over the past three months, accusing some of plotting to carry out suicide attacks inside the kingdom, the country’s official news agency said on Saturday.
An interior ministry official said that the suspects had been captured by security forces as part of an operation aimed at arresting militants of different nationalities in several Saudi cities including the capital, Riyadh, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The SPA’s report said some of those arrested also were allegedly plotting to rob banks and carry out kidnapping operations. Weapons and different currencies also were seized, as well as communication devices and computers.
Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said 115 of those arrested were Saudis. He would not confirm whether those arrested had links to al-Qaeda, but said they allegedly “believed in al-Qaeda ideology and had the same style of carrying out attacks.”
The kingdom’s security forces have arrested several thousand men since Islamic militants launched a terror campaign in May 2003, when suicide bombers attacked three housing estates for foreigners in Riyadh. The forces have achieved a certain measure of success, detaining or killing in shootouts most of the militants named on two lists of “Most Wanted” suspects.
In the latest terror attack, security guards opened fire on two explosives-laden vehicles that were trying to enter the Abqaiq complex, the world’s largest oil processing facility, in eastern Saudi Arabia on Feb. 24. The vehicles exploded without damaging the facility.