Results tagged “Saudi Arabia”
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Authorities arrested 88 members of a large al Qaeda cell that was reportedly planning assassinations in Saudi Arabia as well as other attacks both inside and outside the country; the suspects, all Saudis except for three Yemenis, had contacts with terror groups abroad, and 59 of the suspects had served previous jail terms for similar offenses. Gunmen fired on a police patrol in Awamiyah, wounding an officer and setting a nearby oil pipeline on fire. A court upheld a sentence of 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for a Saudi blogger for alleged crimes against Islam. Three members of Saudi Arabia's religious police assaulted a British man and his Saudi wife in Riyadh.
Police arrested eight people in Tamir who are suspected of recruiting for the Islamic State; among the suspects is a cleric and a teacher. The Special Criminal Court sentenced 12 people to jail for terrorism offenses, including plotting to bomb a US diplomatic mission, joining al Qaeda training camps in Yemen and Lebanon, and facilitating the travel of militants to conflict zones abroad. Six other people were jailed for planning to kill intelligence officers.
A court sentenced four Saudi men to jail terms ranging from four months to nearly three years for traveling or attempting to travel to Syria to join terrorist groups; at least some of them were also found guilty of facilitating the travel of jihadist fighters to the conflict zones. Saudi officials are planning to develop a "comprehensive program"" for combating religious extremism. The government signed an agreement with China for cooperation on the peaceful application of nuclear energy.
The Saudi Embassy in London issued a statement refuting claims in the UK media that Saudi Arabia supports the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia has previously banned Islamic State predecessor ISIS, as well as the Al Nusrah Front, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Saudi branch of Hezbollah. In a recent interview, popular Saudi cleric Sheikh Mohammad al-Arifi denied having called for jihad in Syria and supported al Qaeda in a statement last year on al Jazeera, denied having met with former Brotherhood prime minister Hisham Qandil, and denied having predicted the arrival of the caliphate.
A court sentenced four al Qaeda supporters, one in absentia, to jail terms ranging from two to five-and-a-half years. The suspects had tried to travel to Iraq, and had also helped others travel "to fight in troubled nations."
Two militants blew themselves up inside a government building in the Sharurah area, near the Wadia border post in Yemen that was attacked by a group of al Qaeda fighters yesterday. The two militants had been surrounded by Saudi forces who were searching for the attackers, who had also killed a Saudi border patrol officer.
A Saudi court sentenced 33 of 71 people who were arrested in 2006 in Riyadh on suspicion of setting up a terrorist cell, handing down prison terms of up to 30 years. Some of those sentenced were also banned from travel after the conclusion of their prison terms. The status of the remaining 38 Islamist militants is unknown.
At a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council defense ministers attended by the US Defense Secretary Hagel, Saudi Arabia's defense minister called for more cooperation with the US in the face of rising regional security challenges, and warned against "hesitance and delay" in dealing with them. Hagel reiterated the US' support, but also urged the Gulf nations defense ministers to coordinate more closely with the US on aid being provided to Syrian rebels. Hagel stated later: "We agreed that our assistance must be complementary and that it must be carefully directed to the moderate opposition." King Abdullah announced new defense ministry appointments.
The Interior Ministry announced the arrest of 62 persons accused of links to al Qaeda in Yemen and in Syria, where the suspects reportedly had ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. The cell, made up of 59 Saudis, a Pakistani, a Yemeni, and a Palestinian, included 35 Saudi nationals who had previously been detained on terrorism charges and released. Authorities are looking for an additional 44 people allegedly linked to the cell, which was said to be planning "large-scale assassinations" and other attacks against Saudi "government and foreign interests."
Pakistan extradited two wanted individuals to Saudi Arabia: Adel Felayeh Salim Al-Eneizi, who was on the kingdom's 2009 wanted list; and Muhammad Hamid Al-Juhani, who was on the 2011 wanted list of "extremely dangerous" al Qaeda-linked terrorists. Upon arrival in Riyadh on May 3 the two were given medical checkups and allowed to see their families. A group called the "al-Zarqawiyya Battalion in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" announced its formation and said it would target Shiites in Saudi Arabia. Authorities expect 500 international schools to close due to a shortage of government-sponsored teachers.
Saudi authorities arrested two Saudi women who were attempting to cross into Yemen to join al Qaeda. Earlier this month, another Saudi woman, Arwa Baghdadi, also fled to Yemen to join her husband, imprisoned al Qaeda member Yassin Al Barakati. Last week the Special Court acquitted seven suspects accused of terrorism-related crimes including raising funds for al Qaeda under the guise of charitable organizations and trying to provide weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq; 13 others were convicted.
The Special Court in Riyadh sentenced three terrorists from the 85-member Turki al Dandani group to death, and handed out prison sentences ranging from two to 26 years to 40 others. Two days ago, five terrorists received death sentences for bombings in 2003.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Turkey said that although the grace period for returning jihadists expired on March 20, such fighters are still approaching Saudi embassies and asking for help in returning home. He also indicated they are still welcome to return, saying, "Our doors will always remain open for all Saudis coming from conflict regions or any other area." The majority are young and are coming from Syria, he said.
Al Qaeda strategist Faris al Zahrani, a.k.a. Abu Jandal al Azdi, was sentenced to death for charges including holding extremist views, killing Muslims and others, targeting security officials, and planning to overthrow Gulf monarchies. Zahrani, reportedly a top al Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia, had defied rehabilitation efforts, vowing to continue terrorist activities if released. He was tried along with 15 members of his al Qaeda cell, who received prison terms ranging from one to 20 years.
A court sentenced 13 men to prison terms of up to 14 years for supporting terrorism, training at al Qaeda bases, and recruiting for jihad abroad. Among the nine Saudis, two Jordanians, an Egyptian, and a Syrian, some had financed terrorism in Iraq. Saudi officials decided to stop issuing tourist visas, in order to keep Saudi tourists inside the kingdom. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs said that al Qaeda is using second-generation female members to entice young male and female recruits to the organization, by means of interactions in online forums and websites.
The Interior Ministry said it has designated the Muslim Brotherhood, the Al Nusrah Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham as terrorist organizations. Saudi authorities are becoming concerned that jihadists will return from Syria and continue terrorist activities. Also designated were Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen and a Saudi Hezbollah group. Three men were sentenced to death for their roles in the 2003 al Qaeda suicide bombing of the al-Muhaya compound in Riyadh; two other men received 17-year sentences, but one was released due to ill health.
The Cabinet issued a statement calling on all foreign fighters to withdraw from Syria and said they should be subject to international prosecution for any war crimes committed there. It also condemned "terrorism in all its forms."
Responding to Russian criticism of the reported Saudi plan to provide MANPADs to Syrian rebels, the Foreign Ministry blamed Russian support of the Assad regime for the prolongation of the Syrian conflict. King Abdullah recently decreed that any citizen who fights abroad faces three to 20 years in prison, and anyone who incites others to fight abroad can get five to 30 years. While official estimates say no more than 3,000 Saudis are fighting in Syria, the actual number may be as high as 15,000.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly seeking Pakistan's help in the provision of antiaircraft and antitank weapons for Syrian rebels. The Grand Mufti called on Saudi Arabians to donate to the Saudi National Campaign to Support Brothers in Syria. Between June 2012 and June 2013, the fund distributed over $114 million in support of displaced Syrians in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria.