25 March 2010
Police is Saudi Arabia have arrested over a hundred suspected terrorists who were allegedly plotting an attack against oil installations in the country. The Saudi Interior Ministry in Riyadh said 12 of those being detained were from Yemen-based al-Qaeda cells, including the AQAP which is thought of having planned the failed attack on a Detroit-bound airliner in December 2009.
Of the 113 persons arrested are reportedly 58 Saudi citizens, but the the remainder includes a Somali, an Ethiopian, and a Bangladeshi national. The other 52 were from Yemen, where many al-Qaeda suspects from Saudi Arabia have sought shelter during a crackdown by Saudi authorities on the group in recent years.
The latest outbreak of hostilities between the Saudi government and AQAP began last August, when two men dressed in burqas were stopped in a car after crossing the border from Yemen. They were shot dead in a firefight with police, and found to be wearing suicide belts.
One was a Saudi former inmate of Guantanamo Bay internment camp, who had traveled to Yemen after passing through a Saudi rehabilitation camp. Few details of the arrests were released, but a statement by the Interior Ministry said that several of the foreign suspects had entered the country with legal visas on the pretext of visiting Muslim holy sites.
Meanwhile, all-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s son Omar has asked to be granted asylum in one of the Persian Gulf states. After two of Omar bin Laden's siblings were released by Iran to Syria in the past three months, he and his wife Zaina issued a statement pleading for a refuge for their other family members who are still in Iran, specifically mentioning Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). "The Iranian government has nowhere to send Omar's other siblings," they wrote. "We beg of any country to help us, either from the east or the western world. These are just as much innocent victims as anyone else," they said, adding: "We ask again for the UAE or Qatar to please help them."
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