RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Sunday anyone who received a voice recording from al Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri on their mobile phone must inform the authorities within a week to avoid arrest.
The Interior Ministry said last week that 56 men held since December on suspicion of seeking to revive al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia had planned to use a voice recording of Zawahri saved on a mobile phone to raise funds for the group.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter and home to Islam’s holiest sites, has been the target of attacks by militants linked to al Qaeda since 2003.
But the campaign has gone quiet since its last major operation in February 2006 when militants tried to attack the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq.
“The ministry calls on all those who were contacted concerning this voice message … to inform the authorities,” a statement on the official Saudi Press Agency said.
It said the grace period would last until next Saturday. “Legal action will follow for any suspected individuals once this deadline has passed,” it said.
The Egyptian-born Zawahri is thought to be in hiding in the mountainous border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.