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Saudi Arabia cracks down on IS-linked terror

Riyadh : In a significant crackdown on the Islamic State and its affiliates, Saudi security agencies have arrested nearly 100 people linked to the militant group over the past few months, according to government and media reports.

The terrorists had plotted to attack public and private buildings in the country and kill police officials, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Al-Turki said in a statement on Tuesday. The group also aimed to set up “training fields” within Saudi Arabia.

A militant cell planned a suicide car bombing on the US Embassy in Riyadh, but the plot was disrupted in March, Al-Turki revealed.

Security services had proof that led to the “early uncovering of terrorist activities in several parts of the Kingdom by members of the group”, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Among those held was a 65-member group that had plotted attacks on “residential areas, and operations to incite sectarian sedition”, similar to the one in which seven members of the minority Shia community were killed in the country’s Eastern Province in November.

The group includes a Palestinian, a Syrian and two stateless people, it added.

To carry out their objectives, the group aimed at attracting and recruiting the youth, and influencing them through propaganda initiatives through various media, including social networking sites, the Saudi interior ministry stated.

The terror group also planned to raise funds for their campaign and Saudi Riyal 56,000 (nearly $15,000) in addition to $1,700 was seized from them.

Also on Tuesday, Saudi security forces arrested a person in connection with the killing of two police officers in Riyadh earlier this month, according to the interior ministry.

The ministry also announced last Friday that it had arrested the 23-year-old Mohammed Abdulrahman Abu Nayan, who had confessed to taking part in the killing of the two policemen, and injuring two others in separate incidents over the past two months.

Abu Nayan was detained a week ago attempting to cross over into Yemen.

Abu Nayan had also admitted that he had received instructions from the IS to stay inside Saudi Arabia, prepare attacks and make homemade bombs, according to the interior ministry last week.

Security agencies had also arrested members of an IS-affiliated terror cell named “Soldiers of the Land of the Two Holy Mosques” on December 31 last year. The cell consisted of 15 Saudi members, commanded by a man who specialised in making explosives, said interior ministry spokesman Al-Turki.