S. Arabia Says Arrests 430 IS Suspects, Stops Attacks

S. Arabia Says Arrests 430 IS Suspects, Stops Attacks
S. Arabia Says Arrests 430 IS Suspects, Stops Attacks

Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it has broken up planned Islamic State attacks in the kingdom and arrested 431 suspects in an anti-terrorism sweep, a day after a powerful blast in neighboring Iraq killed more than 100 people in one of the country’s deadliest single attacks since US troops pulled out in 2011.

The Saudi Interior Ministry accused those arrested over the “past few weeks” of involvement in several attacks, including a suicide bombing in May that killed 22 people in the eastern village of Al-Qudeeh, the deadliest militant assault in the kingdom in more than a decade, AP reported.

It also blamed them for the November shooting and killing of eight worshippers in the eastern Saudi village of Al-Ahsa, and for being behind another attack in late May, when a suicide bomber disguised as a woman blew himself up in the parking lot of a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, killing four.

The ministry said in June, they thwarted a suicide bomb attack on a large mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia that can hold 3,000 worshippers, along with multiple planned attacks on other mosques and diplomatic and security bodies.

Those arrested included suspects behind a number of militant websites used in recruiting, the ministry said.

“It sends a message that the Ministry of Interior is not losing a grip and wraps up the potential nodes of IS recruits in the kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia branded IS a terrorist organization last year and has joined the US-led coalition targeting it in Syria and Iraq.