Saudi arrests 93 suspected of ISIS links
A militant cell planned a suicide car bombing targeting the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, but the plot was detected in March
Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 people, including a woman, with links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Saudi interior ministry said on Tuesday.
The statement said authorities had foiled several ISIS attempts to assassinate a number of members of the military.
A militant cell planned a suicide car bombing targeting the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, but the plot was disrupted in March, said the Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki.
The arrests have taken place since December last year and most of those detained were Saudis.
Among those held is a 65-strong ISIS-linked group plotting to target “residential areas, and operations to incite sectarian sedition” in attacks similar to the killing of seven members of the minority Shiite community in Eastern Province in November, it said.
The group includes a Palestinian, a Syrian and two stateless people, it added.
Another 15 Saudis formed a group calling itself “Jund Bilad al-Haramain”, or Soldiers of the Land of the Two Holy Mosques in reference to Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, the ministry said.
It said that cell was led by a bomb-making “specialist” and was testing car bombs, planning to attack security headquarters, soldiers and residential areas.
Authorities said they have also arrested two Syrians and a Saudi who had threatened to launch a suicide car attack against the American embassy in Riyadh last month.
U.S. consular services in Saudi Arabia were suspended for a week in March over “heightened security concerns”.
The Sunni-dominated kingdom is part of a U.S.-led coalition carrying out air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, where the militants have seized swathes of territory.