Saudi Ara­bia foils ‘Is­lamic State’ plot to at­tack de­fense min­istry

The Daily News Egypt - - International -

DW—Saudi au­thor­i­ties say they made two ar­rests and thwarted at­tacks in­volv­ing “sui­cide vests” at gov­ern­ment build­ings.The coun­try re­mains on high alert fol­low­ing a se­ries of bomb­ings dur­ing Ra­madan last year.

Se­cu­rity forces in Saudi Ara­bia foiled sui­cide at­tacks on two De­fense Min­istry build­ings in the cap­i­tal Riyadh, au­thor­i­ties said Mon­day.

Of­fi­cials said they had de­tained two Ye­meni mem­bers of the “Is­lamic State” (IS) ji­hadist group who were liv­ing in the king­dom un­der aliases, ac­cord­ing to the state news agency SPA.

At­tack ap­peared close

SPA said the two al­leged sui­cide bombers were ap­pre­hended be­fore they reached the tar­get lo­ca­tion and that au­thor­i­ties had suc­ceeded in “neu­tral­iz­ing their dan­ger.” It said two Saudi na­tion­als were also ar­rested and au­thor­i­ties were in­ves­ti­gat­ing their re­la­tion­ship to the two Ye­me­nis. Weapons found

SPA said two ex­plo­sive belts, each weigh­ing 7 ki­los (15 pounds) were seized along with firearms, home­made grenades and non-firearm weapons.

Au­thor­i­ties said they had lo­cated a safe house in a Riyadh neigh­bor­hood that was used for ter­ror train­ing.

In July 2016, sus­pected IS sui­cide bombers det­o­nated four explosions at three lo­ca­tions in the king­dom dur­ing the Holy Month of Ra­madan. The sites in­cluded a mosque in Me­d­ina said to have orig­i­nally been built by the Prophet Muham­mad, an­other mosque in Qatif and close to the US con­sulate in Jed­dah.

IS has for years crit­i­cised Saudi Ara­bia’s lead­er­ship, ac­cus­ing the West­ern-al­lied oil ex­porter of de­vi­at­ing from their strict in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Is­lam and ad­vanc­ing the in­ter­ests of their US en­e­mies.

Saudi lead­ers have also come un­der fierce crit­i­cism for lead­ing a mil­i­tary coali­tion to sup­port theYe­meni gov­ern­ment of President Ab­drab­buh Man­sour Hadi af­ter Iran­backed Houthi rebels forced him into ex­ile. Saudi-led airstrikes have led to 5,144 civil­ian deaths, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions, amid ac­cu­sa­tions of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions. ‘For­eign spies’ de­tained Also on Mon­day, SPA said au­thor­i­ties had un­cov­ered ev­i­dence of for­eign spy­ing by a group of peo­ple it did not name.

The Reuters news agency cited an anony­mous Saudi se­cu­rity source as say­ing the sus­pects were ac­cused of “es­pi­onage ac­tiv­i­ties” for, among oth­ers, the Mus­lim Brother­hood, which Riyadh has clas­si­fied as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Sev­eral sus­pects are in cus­tody and one of them is a mem­ber of the armed Houthi move­ment, the source told Reuters.

The SPA said the two al­leged sui­cide bombers were ap­pre­hended be­fore they reached the tar­get lo­ca­tion

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