Saudi foils 'terror' plot

2012-08-26 15:51

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Riyadh - Saudi authorities announced on Sunday they had foiled a "terror" plot by elements suspected of links to al-Qaeda, mostly Yemenis, and busted two extremist cells in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The interior ministry said in a statement the suspects were "in contact with the deviant organisation abroad," a term usually used to refer to al-Qaeda jihadist network.

The suspects were working on "recruiting elements to execute criminal attacks targeting security forces, citizens and foreign residents, as well as public installations," it said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The ministry said two Saudis and six Yemenis were arrested, and it also named two nationals as wanted for questioning.

"Investigations revealed that those elements were at an advanced stage... including preparing explosives and testing them outside Riyadh," the ministry said, adding that one suspect accidentally lost a finger during the tests.

The first Saudi suspect turned out to be the head of the cell in Riyadh, and he gave "detailed information" that led to the arrest of the six Yemenis, who also confessed to taking part in the plot, it said.

Police found "chemicals used for explosives as well as mobile phones wired to detonate explosive devices remotely," at an annex of a mosque in the capital, the ministry said.

Investigations also led to a link with the other cell in the western city of Jeddah, the kingdom's second largest city.

The ministry said that a Saudi member of that cell "who worked on preparing explosive chemicals" was arrested.

Saudi Arabia witnessed a wave of deadly attacks by al-Qaeda between 2003 and 2006, which prompted the authorities to launch a crackdown on the local branch of the group founded by slain Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.

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