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Saudi Arabia arrests 44 Qaeda suspects

Saudi Arabia arrested 44 people with alleged close links to the “original” Al-Qaeda leadership and seized large amounts of arms and explosives meant for attacks in the kingdom, the interior ministry said.

world Updated: Aug 20, 2009 00:50 IST

Saudi Arabia arrested 44 people with alleged close links to the “original” Al-Qaeda leadership and seized large amounts of arms and explosives meant for attacks in the kingdom, the interior ministry said.

The 43 Saudis and one foreigner were “a core” of Qaeda operatives that was recruiting and indoctrinating others to carry out attacks, interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told AFP.

“These people have links to the original Al-Qaeda organisation,” Turki said.

“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,” he added.

Turki said those arrested were plotting attacks that would be carried out by others.

“These people do have a plan, but they don’t themselves directly execute the plans,” he said. In a statement on state news agency SPA, Turki said the group “includes a number of the theorists and believers of the deviant ideology and supporters of its criminal acts.”

Police 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 near Riyadh and in the Qassim region north of the capital, the ministry said.