Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- – Saudi security forces arrested 40-suspected terrorists, including some allegedly involved in last month’s failed attempted of bombing an oil facility, and seized a cache of weapons and explosives, an interior ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
“The arrests were made over the last week or so”, he told Reuters news agency.
“Some of them were related to publishing the terrorists’ ideas on the internet… others were providing assistance, hideouts and financing terrorists,” the spokesman said.
Simultaneous raids were carried out in Mecca, Medina and Qassim in the north and Asir in the south, according to the unnamed spokesman.
Authorities said 19 of those arrested were suspected of financing terrorist attacks and disseminating “disinformation on the internet”. They included Saudis and “residents”, the official said.
Eight people were connected to the February 24 attack on the Abqaiq complex, the world’s biggest oil processing plant, in which two militants were killed, whose names appear on the list of 36 most wanted al Qaeda militants. They are: Mohammed al Ghaith and Abdulaziz al Tuwayjiri.
In the Eastern region, the security forces arrested 13 suspected militants who were providing financial assistance to terrorists and illegally carrying weapons and explosives. A search at a hideout in Abqaiq province, the security forces seized: 99 hand grenades, 22 gas canisters, 18 machine guns, 131 assault rifles, 2 hunting rifles, huge amounts of ammunition and metal detection devices.
Saudi television aired footage of the cache showing hand grenades, AK-47 assault rifles and various firearms.
Also, a Saudi daily newspaper reported the authorities seized two explosive-laden vehicles in Abqaiq. the newspaper also said the two vehicles had the logo of Aramco, the Saudi oil company on them. Officials were not available to comment
Abqaiq is the world’s largest oil processing facility, with two-third of the Kingdom’s exports passing through its pipelines.