Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of 93 suspects whom had ties to the Islamic State. The country says they were planning multiple attacks on the U.S. Embassy, but also against security forces and residential compounds where foreigner citizens live.
The list of targets is similar to those hit by a series of attacks launched by al-Qaida inside Saudi Arabia from 2004 to 2007, when dozens of people lost their lives, including many foreigners. That wave of violence threatened the stability the kingdom, one of the world’s leading oil-producing nations. Saudi Arabia is the home Islam’s holiest sites, in Medina and Mecca.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said that Saudi Arabia’s security forces are very well prepared to fight against the Islamic State. The kingdom is taking part in an U.S.-led coalition which is fighting the group in Syria and Iraq.
He added there have been five Islamic State attacks across Saudi Arabia in recent months in which 15 civilians and security personnel were killed. The spokesperson explained that Saudis have ignored the Islamic State’s calls to join the fight against their government, the Shiite minority, foreigners or security forces in the kingdom.
“We do have a number of people who do respond to such calls and do try to carry out such terrorist organizations’ orders, but these people do not represent the Saudi population, do not represent the 20 million Saudis,” he said in an interview for the Associated Press, shortly before the arrests arrests were announced.
He explained that security forces’ raids dismantled a cell of 65 people whom were upheld in March and were plotting to target some residential compounds and prisons in Saudi Arabia. They also wanted to carry out attacks which would have led to sectarian strife. Only two of those arrested were Saudi citizens.
Local authorities also foiled a plot for a suicide car bomber against the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, after they received information about this terrorist attack in mid-March. Two Syrians and a Saudi citizen were detained in this case.
The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia is located in a huge and and very heavily guarded complex in Riyadh, near many other embassies. The embassy building is surrounded on all sides by fortified barriers and is guarded around the clock by police, while U.S. Marines are checking visitor passes inside.
Image Source: Albawaba