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. Rasta

    They stop 19 but they probably have 200 to go.

    November 26, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sarah

    Until we see some beheadings this is all for show.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dennis

    One huge detail the article omitted: What does Saudi Arabia plan to do with them?

    November 26, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve in religious Birmingham

    Hmmm. Five months ago they similarly announced they had rounded up "more than 100 terrorists." That would be within the eight month window they announced again today. Maybe it's true...But did they arrest any members of the extensive Saudi Royal Family that helps finance external terrorists? Seems not. I was amused by the description of the terrorists: "Their general motives are spreading an ideology of hate by calling others disbelievers". Hrmmmm, that's a succinct summary of a radical & oppressive form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia called Wahabism–they do not allow any other form of worship.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tom Sawyer

    The whole thing was just 4 show. Besides we have our own Terrorist Cells here in the USA to deal with....LULAC

    November 26, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. joey

    Why would they release the woman? A woman is just as capable to be a terrorist (sorry obama i know you don't think we should use this word) threat as a man?!

    November 26, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. pudding

    All countries except the US Protects their borders, All Countries except the US has Armed Maching Gun carrying Soilders defending its people, Most countries keep their noses out of other countries...If we want to win Afganistan go in Bomb the place till it's 5feet under sea level and come home. Stop Mexicans from WALKING into America and frisking Granny at the Airport. We are So ACLU Minded, Politically Correct...CHICKEN SNOOP.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. trinh

    Saudi Arabia will release them because they are own people. It is just a game that Saudi Arabia is playing.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Emre

    Watch "Saudis in Audis" on Youtube -hilarious!!!

    November 26, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. patricia

    We need to focus on north korea! That is where the true nut job lives!

    November 26, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. The Truth

    Saudis will continue to live an oppressed society. NO Sense in life=style. A very illiterate and very ignorant society who apparently inherited wealth from their oil over night. They have no sense of education nor will they ever learn a proper lifestyle or HUMANITY.

    Half these people arrested is just a show.. to show the world they are doing something. In reality these people are so stern and stubborn in their beliefs. They will eventually get around to only what they think is correct. Nor will their society, ways or beliefs ever change.

    Nor will their way of how they misleadingly present or take advantage of their religion to have control of their women or anyone who decides to live in their country. Just because you are a Saudi, do not think you are better than anyone else. There will come a time when your oil runs out that you will begin from scratch and realize who you really are.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. LauraJ

    There cannot be any doubt about the position of Saudi Arabia anymore. They see a coming war and need our alliance. Iran is gearing up to strike Saudi Arabia and try to destabilize the region and the world. We need troops on the ground in the region – the whys are simply steps in the larger game of regional war that looks to spread to the world. Perpetual war is a somewhat stupid phrase here, it will be war whether we choose it or not, we can either be in a good position or late to the fight. Late to the fight generally costs more lives.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. Clem&Jethro

    I wonder why they called these al-queda "alleged", but when it's about 9/11, they don't. They just report it as if al-queda did 9/11, no "alleged".

    November 26, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dslnightowl

    Al qaeda and the taliban a like a worldwide mafia one big organised crime unit or disorganised and people are very aware of these cells now thier getting caught alot more now than in the past, in the past they were noticed but not real well delt with but not the case anymore to many are on the lookout for this stuff but there is along way to go, will it ever be stopped totally i don't think so but real nice job on the part of the law. i personaly think that is places like ahfganistan and iraq and somalia and africa would reduce this stuff greatly if they would take thier countrys natural weath and put the money towards water and sanitation systems for the entire country would reduce crime and piracy and many more problems without a doubt you know start getting these people proper food and water and sanitation and life becomes so much better for them, basic systems should be a god given man made right and why thier not demanding these kinds of things is beyond me. Stop raping and killing and robbing and drugs and put your efforts towards a better future for your children and selves and all the sudden life becomes a great thing think about it.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel

    Innocent or not,the fate of 149 men are sealed. First,they will be tortured and then they will be slaughtered eventually. In the meantime,I guess that the right-wing thugs in Washington are going to have another field day over it.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
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