Saudi Arabia announced the arrest March 25 of more than 100 in a supposed al-Qaeda plot to target the kingdom’s oil infrastructure. One cell consisted of 101, and two smaller cells were made up of six men each, the Interior Ministry said. The large cell comprised 47 Saudis and 51 Yemenis, as well as a Somali, a Bangladeshi and an Eritrean, according to the statement read on state television. The two smaller groups were made up of 11 Saudis and a Yemeni, who security officials described as being a prominent member of al-Qaeda.
The groups had links to al-Qaeda’s affiliate based in neighboring Yemen, said ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki, adding thay a “network” and two cells working independently of each other had been uncovered. The large cell was discovered as the result of an investigation launched after suspected al-Qaeda militants—two of them dressed as women—tried to infiltrate the country in October with explosives. The two were killed in a shootout at the border and a third was arrested.
Al-Turki said the investigation had so far revealed “correspondence between this organization and al-Qaeda’s organization in Yemen,” and that weapons, cameras, documents and computers were seized. “The network and the two cells were targeting the oil facilities in the Eastern Province and they had plans that were about to be implemented,” he said. (AlJazeera, March 25)