'Deviant group'
 
A statement from the Saudi interior ministry referred to the men arrested on Sunday as members of a "deviant group", a phrase often used by authorities in reference to members of the al-Qaeda network.
 
It also said the men had "links with elements outside [the kingdom]", but did not specify where.
 
The arrests on Friday occurred after the interior ministry said it uncovered a plot to carry out attacks on Saudi security forces during Hajj.
 
The Saudi authorities were already on high alert this year because of the participation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the first president from Iran to take part in the pilgrimage.
 
Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia's interior minister, said in early December that his forces had foiled "more than 180 terrorist operations" since a wave of bombings and shootings by the Saudi branch of al-Qaeda broke out four years ago.
 
The kingdom also says it has arrested 208 suspected al-Qaeda fighters over the past few months.