RIYADH (AFP) – Three Saudis have been arrested over the murders in February of a French teenager and three compatriots in the desert kingdom, the interior ministry announced Sunday.
A ministry spokesman said Majid bin Maidh bin Rashid al-Harbi was arrested on Sunday morning at Hail in the northwest of the kingdom.
He named the other two as Abdullah bin Sayer al-Mohammedi and Nasser bin Latif al-Belwi but gave no details of their capture.
The ministry had previously named the mastermind “of this abominable” crime as Walid Motlaq al-Raddadi, a 23-year-old Saudi who figured on a June 2005 list of 36 most-wanted suspected Al-Qaeda militants.
Raddadi was killed by police in the Muslim holy city Medina on April 6.
The Frenchmen were in a group of nine travelling in the northwest — an area of the country popular with expatriates — when they got lost and asked Raddadi for directions.
Those killed included a teenager, two employees of an energy company and a teacher at the French school in Riyadh.
The February attack was the first in three months against Westerners in Saudi Arabia.
The oil-rich kingdom was rocked by a spate of bombings and shootings blamed on suspected Al-Qaeda militants that started in May 2003, triggering a relentless security crackdown on Islamist extremists.
The interior ministry has since warned Western governments of the danger of further attacks on foreigners, and the British and US embassies joined the French in issuing warnings to their nationals.