November 26th, 2010
08:26 AM ET

149 alleged al Qaeda members arrested in Saudi Arabia

Security forces in Saudi Arabia have arrested 149 people alleged to be members of al Qaeda, the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Gen. Mansour al-Turki, Interior Ministry spokesman, the people were plotting to kill government officials, security forces, and media employees.

"Their general motives are spreading an ideology of hate by calling others disbelievers, collecting money to finance the deviant al Qaeda group inside and outside the kingdom, easing travel for some individuals for training in destabilized places and executing criminal plots to spread chaos and insecurity." al-Turki said.

The arrests occurred over an eight-month period, and the people seized were dispersed among 19 active terrorist cells throughout the kingdom. Security forces found 2.4 million riyals (or about $600,000) among the cells.

Saudi state-run TV reports said of the 149 people, 124 were Saudi nationals. There were also Yemenis and Egyptians. The cells have external links, Turki said, a reference to al Qaeda in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

The people were involved in collecting money and financing terrorism, targeting oil refineries and government buildings, weapons training, and making hand grenades.

Turki said the suspects were trying to using the hajj, or Muslim pilgrimage, season to create unrest and pursue recruiting.

The suspects pursued internet recruiting, and used nicknames in their recruiting efforts. Some of the names included killer, love of God, immigrant lion, and the stranger.

Among those arrested was a woman, who was sent back to her family after she was seized.

- CNN's Rima Maktabi contributed to this report

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. OR

    At least we know who the terrorist are. They are not Saudi's. They are bad Saudis.

    November 26, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • iPwn

      Say what you want about Saudi Arabia, but they have their stuff together. More nations should follow their lead.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • iPwn

      Are you telling us you think the US has less then 150 terrorists living there? Why doesn't the gov. round them up then?

      November 26, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      The Saudis do this every once in a while when they want to make a show of toughness or when they believe their own people or establishments might be harmed.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • CHANGOMANGO

      @Pwn–We don't round up the terrorists in our country because unlike Saudi Arabia we're handcuffed with little things like civil rights, due process and evidence!

      November 26, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • News4U

      Ok.. Wonderful Saud Arabia... What about allowing women to have equal rights and allowing other religions to practice freely? Do you not understand that this is the reason your country is creating so many terrorists???

      November 26, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • thend64

      they are just bad people. period. it doesn't matter where they are from.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      to CHANGOMANGO You are correct we do allow those persons rights. But then we trample on the rights of innocent civilians at the airports with scans and searches that are supposed to be only for criminals with a search warrant that are suspected of some wrongdoing.

      November 26, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Callahan

      Yet they are Saudi's.

      November 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. asgar

    This goes to show that not all Arabs are bad.. Maybe 1 out of 1 trillion!

    November 26, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      I assume you are being sarcastic. Right?

      November 26, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • PPC

      Learn Math.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Tewrobert

      They was fixing to try and over throw the Saudi Government. What would you expect them to do 🙂
      Saudis dont mess around, You can bet some heads will roll..
      You mess with the Saudis and they mess with your head 🙂
      Great job but I think its an endless job..
      They need to start thinking about what they put in their school books.....

      November 26, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bfriend

    They sent the woman involved "back to her family.". Oh yeah, i am she learned her lesson. Glad to see the saudis draw a hard line on terrorism again.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Moe

      Well, if she was a real threat then they wouldnt have released her!!!

      November 26, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Indigo

      Well who knows, maybe releasing her to her family is the worse punishment.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Ravenna

      Yep, probably beat her and sold her into bondage–i mean marriage–to some sheikh. They sent her home to go back to cooking and cleaning.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. James

    To the person who can't count there are not a trillion peopel on the planet, just a couple of billion. Way to show your ignorance

    November 26, 2010 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Tewrobert

      I do not think anyone has any idea how many people are in the world, I watched the census takers here the south and let me tell you, The count is off, Way off, Its a joke they ever try to estimate...That was a waste of money, But its jobs obamy said he made LOL

      November 26, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rocketship

    No more great lakes water for the King after the apocalypse.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. vrykerry

    What did you expect Saudi? You allowed them to prosper in your country. Only when they became a threat to the home front did you decide to clean house.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. PARROT

    ANOTHER PROOF WE INVADED AND BOMBED THE WRONG COUNTRY.....OSAMA BIN LADEN AND HIS WHOLE FAMILY ARE FROM SAUDI ARABIA, AS WELL AS 90% OF THE TERRORISTS INVOLVED IN THE 9-11 ATTACK, WHY IN THE WORLD WE ATTACKED IRAQ?....SAUDI ARABIA WAS THE LOGICAL TARGET, NOT IRAQ. OH WELL.....

    November 26, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Ravenna

      Imagine that. An Iraq-style operation in Saudi. Probably more lucrative oil plundering /dark humor.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. T

    BAINDO CHI EISU KYUUSAI ENGO KIGI KAMI EISU HEIAN MEIYO TAME KAMI EISU

    November 26, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Get Real

    Grateful that the Saudis are beginning to understand what happens when Wahabis preach and teach.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Veritas

    Just glad they got 149 of them out of the picture

    November 26, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Tewrobert

      With the saudis, iIf in doubt......... add one 🙂

      November 26, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. MPTS

    REPUBLICANS ARE SUPPORTING THEM TOO. LOL SARAH PALIN SAYS NORTH KOREA IS AN AMERICAN ALLY. THIS GOES TO SHOW AGAIN HOW IGNORANT THIS WOMAN IS. AMERICA AMERICA MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOU.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • RightWingMark

      I see we have a severe case of Palin derangement syndrome going on.
      RWM

      November 26, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. PPC

    It is good to see the Saudi's police/military really taking a stand against terrorists.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. CaptainObvious

    The Saudi Royal Family is the biggest lie perpetrated upon a single country ever. All the royals live like drunk and philandering westerners while they impose Islamic law upon their people. Do as I say and not as I do has always been the mantra for those in power. The Saudis only care about terrorism when it threatens their government. I wonder if they stopped printing those Korans that were edited to say that christians and jews were the enemies of islam?

    November 26, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Well put,CaptainObvious.

      November 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charles

    Remember 9/11? 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudis. Saudi is making a show with these arrests since the US just sold them a ton of fighter jets. Saudi and Pakistan are not tough on terrorists or the extremist clerics. They are doing the minimum to try to show the west they care. In reality, they do not.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Oh yeah

    It's nice to know The Saudi's are actually helping us out.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
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