28 Nov 2010

Saudis say they've detained 149 al Qaeda suspects

12:24 pm on 28 November 2010

Saudi Arabia says 149 people suspected of working for al Qaeda have been arrested in the kingdom over the past eight months.

The Interior Ministry says most of the detainees were Saudis, but 25 were from other Arab, African and South Asian countries. They were from 19 separate cells.

In a statement, the ministry said its agents had foiled plots to attack Saudi officials, civilians and journalists.

The BBC reports the Saudis have pursued aggressive anti-terror policies since a series of attacks in the kingdom in 2003.

Some of the suspects used the annual Hajj and and Umra pilgrimages to try to collect money and make contacts.

The ministry said 2.24 million riyal ($800,000) had been confiscated from al Qaeda during the pilgrimages.

Al Qaeda's network was largely dismantled in the kingdom but regrouped as "al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" in Yemen last January.