Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday it had apprehended 88 individuals, mostly Saudis, with suspected links to foreign terror groups.
“Security agencies, over a period of several months, monitored all the suspects, particularly those with extremist ideologies,” said a ministry statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
The ministry’s spokesperson Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turkey, speaking at a news conference following the announcement, said the suspects had been detained “for having links with terror groups outside the kingdom,” adding that a number had sent their children to fight alongside groups abroad.
“They [the suspects] were on the verge of committing acts of terrorism both in Saudi Arabia and abroad,” Turki said.
An Interior Ministry statement said the arrests came following months of surveillance.
“Security apparatuses, over a period of several months, monitored all the suspects, particularly those with extremist ideologies,” the statement said.
“Months of monitoring and security observation provided evidence to detain the suspects and thwart the plans that they were on the verge of carrying out both domestically and abroad,” it added.
The 88 suspects were apprehended in a series of recent raids in several areas of the country, it said, adding that 59 of them had been previously.
The detainees included 84 Saudis and three Yemeni nationals.
The nationality of one suspect remains unknown.
The ministry spokesman said the detainees had formed six different cells located in four different parts of the country that included Makkah and Ha’il. All the cells had plotted to carry out assassination of figures, he added, noting that the largest of the cells was comprised of 51 members.
During the news conference, the spokesman clarified that the evidence which led to the arrests included the suspects’ extremist ideologies as well as the indoctrination of young Saudis into their own dogma.SHOW MORE