Saudi Arabia says uncovers al-Qaeda cell plotting attacks
DUBAI - Agence France-Presse
Yemeni government forces waging an offensive against al Qaeda pushed into a militant stronghold in the south after insurgents blew up a government building there with some then withdrawing, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday. ReutersSaudi Arabia said on Tuesday it had uncovered an al-Qaeda militant group with links to "extremist elements" in Syria and Yemen that had been plotting to assassinate officials and attack government and foreign targets.
The cell comprised 62 members, including 59 Saudi militants, a Yemeni, a Pakistani and a Palestinian, Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said in a televised briefing.
An investigation into social media postings "led security forces after months of hard work to pinpoint suspicious activities that unveiled a terrorist organisation through which the elements of al-Qaeda in Yemen were communicating with their counterpart elements in Syria in coordination with a number of misguided (people) at home in various provinces of the kingdom," he said.
The conservative Islamic kingdom has grown increasingly concerned about radicalisation this year because the war in Syria has spurred what they see as a surge in online militancy. They are worried about a new al Qaeda campaign of attacks.
Saudi Arabia faced an al-Qaeda insurgency from 2003 to 2006 in which militants targeted residential compounds for foreigners and Saudi government facilities, killing dozens of people.
The kingdom responded by arresting thousands of suspected militants and launching a media campaign to discredit their ideology with the backing of influential clerics and tribal leaders. The courts have sentenced thousands of Saudi citizens to prison terms for similar offences over the past decade.