Saudi Arabia has arrested 17 people linked to Islamic State, saying they were in advanced stages of planning four attacks across the kingdom, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The 17 detainees include 13 Saudis, an Egyptian, a Yemeni, a Palestinian and a woman who participated in implementing terrorist schemes
According to the Interior Ministry Spokesman Mansour al-Turki, who didn’t indicate when the suspects were detained, the members of these three terror cells, were preparing to hit civilians, religious scholars, security forces and economic facilities in Saudi Arabia.
Also, the detainees were planning four attacks and have reached advanced stages of preparing for these suicide attacks,said the official Saudi Press Agency.
Besides the arrests, 43 pounds of high explosives and 16.6 pounds of belts packed with explosives, as well as weapons and ammunition, were seized, the ministry said. Some 600,000 Saudi rials ($160,000) was confiscated.
Investigations revealed that one of the apprehended cells had provided refuge to those who carried out the explosion of Imam al-Rida Mosque in al-Ahsa and had also been involved in blowing up a military personnel’s car in Riyadh, assisting in the assassination of a Saudi officer and targeting a security post on al-Haer road in Riyadh.
Islamic State sees Saudi monarchy as heretic partly because of its alliance with the U.S. and other Western countries and has challenged the kingdom’s guardianship of Islam’s holiest cities, Mecca and Medina. Riyadh is a member of the U.S.-led coalition against the group.
The Saudi government said Islamic State was behind three bombings that occurred in June, including an explosion that took place next to Al-Masjid an-Nabawī in Medina.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has repeatedly condemned religious extremism, most recently last week when he described it as an epidemic that must be eradicated.