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Saudi arrests 700 over 'oil attack' plots  Ken Garen
 Jun 25, 2008 20:25 PDT 

Saudi arrests 700 over 'oil attack' plots

Jun 25 09:40 AM US/Eastern

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has arrested 701 Islamists in the past six months
on suspicion of plotting attacks on oil industry installations, the interior
ministry announced on Wednesday.

Security forces "carried out several operations against followers of the
deviant ideology and arrested a total of 701 people of various
nationalities," said a ministry spokesman, quoted by the official SPA news

Of those arrested since the start of the year, "520 are still being held for
their implication in the organisational and ideological plans of the deviant

'Deviant ideology' is the term used by Saudi officials to describe Al-Qaeda.

The kingdom has been battling suspected Al-Qaeda militants since they
launched a wave of shootings and bombings, many targeting Westerners, in May

Last July, the interior ministry announced that it had started forming
special security units to protect the country's oil infrastructure from
terrorist attacks.

In April 2007, the ministry said 172 terror suspects had been rounded up
along with weapons and cash. Some of the militants were allegedly plotting
airborne attacks on oil facilities and army bases.

Security forces thwarted an alleged Al-Qaeda attack against Saudi Arabia's
massive Abqaiq oil processing facility in February 2006. Two members of the
security forces and two assailants were killed.

Copyright AFP 2008

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