RIYADH, (AFP) — Saudi authorities have discovered an arms cache near the capital linked to an Al-Qaeda cell dismantled in August, an interior ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
The spokesman, quoted by the SPA state news agency, said the weapons were found in a house after interrogations of 44 people allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda whose arrests were announced on August 19.
The arms haul comprised 281 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 250 magazines and 35 cases containing 41,250 rounds of ammunition, the spokesman said.
When 43 Saudis and one foreigner were arrested in August, police also seized around 70 machine-guns, 376 electronic detonation devices and more than 31,000 rounds of ammunition in three caches in a Riyadh residence and desert hideouts.
“These people have links to the original Al-Qaeda organisation,” interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told AFP in August.
“I would describe them like a base. They actually work in the area, recruiting young people, giving young people the ideology of Al-Qaeda and financing terrorism in the kingdom.”
A bloody Al-Qaeda campaign of assassinations and bombings between 2003 and 2006 killed more than 150 Saudis and foreigners in Saudi Arabia, and was followed by a sweeping roundup of some 9,000 suspected Islamic dissidents.