[QODLink]
Middle East

Saudi Arabia arrests 18 suspected spies

Authorities arrest an Iranian, a Lebanese and 16 Saudis accused of being part of "foreign spy network".
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2013 21:05

The Saudi authorities have arrested 18 suspected spies, including an Iranian and a Lebanese, on charges of espionage for a foreign country, the interior ministry said.

"Sixteen Saudis, an Iranian and a Lebanese were arrested in co-ordinated and simultaneous operations in four regions of the kingdom," including the capital Riyadh and Mecca, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told state television that the arrests were made four days ago and the suspects were being investigated before being handed over to judicial authorities.

'Case of espionage'

"This is a case of espionage and those have been involved with a spy network working for a foreign country," Turki told state television.

"They were gathering information about installations and vital areas in the country and providing intelligence agencies of that state with it," he added, without naming the state.

News of the arrests come as rights activists on Tuesday reported that Saudi security forces had arrested several Shias across the kingdom, including two clerics, over the past days for unspecified reasons.

Since early 2011, mainly Shia towns in the eastern province have seen sporadic protests and confrontations between police and Shia residents who complain of marginalisation.

There are an estimated two million Shias in the Sunni-dominated kingdom of about 27.5 million people,

221

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list