Saudi busts cell targeting World Cup football match

Eight arrested for planning attacks on security forces and a qualifying match in Jeddah, with other suspects at large.

    Saudi busts cell targeting World Cup football match
    In July authorities arrested 19 people in connection with three suicide bombings, including one near the Prophet's Mosque [EPA]

    Saudi Arabia has arrested eight people suspected of planning separate attacks targeting security forces and a World Cup qualifying football match.

    The Saudi Interior Ministry said on Sunday that authorities foiled the plots and dismantled two "terrorist" cells.

    Four of those detained were Saudis who had allegedly received instructions from an ISIL leader in Syria to kill security officers in the Shaqra district, north of the capital Riyadh, it said, adding all suspects had confessed.

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    The ministry said the second plot involved a car bombing at the football match between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a stadium in the city of Jeddah on October 11.

    It said two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese national were arrested over that plot. It was not immediately clear if the bomb plot involved ISIL as well.

    In another statement, the interior ministry published a list of nine suspects - eight Saudis and a Bahraini - wanted for their alleged involvement in "terrorist" acts in the eastern provinces of Qatif and Dammam, home to most of the kingdom's Shia minority population.

    The suspects were allegedly involved in attacks against civilians and members of the security forces, the statement said.

    It urged the suspects to surrender and offered financial rewards for those who could provide information leading to their arrests.

    WATCH: The threat of ISIL in Saudi Arabia

    Since 2014, Saudi security forces have grappled with sporadic attacks by adherents to ISIL, which is based in Iraq and Syria, and say they have arrested hundreds of its members.

    Local Saudi affiliates of ISIL have carried out several deadly shootings and bombings in the kingdom. Many of the attacks have targeted security personnel and Shia Muslim mosques.

    ISIL has been hostile to the Gulf Arab monarchies and appears to be trying to stoke Sunni-Shia sectarian confrontation in Arabian peninsula countries to destabilise and ultimately overthrow them.

    Authorities arrested 19 people, including 12 Pakistanis, in connection with three suicide bombings on July 4, including one near the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, in which four people died.

    ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called for attacks against Saudi Arabia, which belongs to the US-led coalition bombing his fighters in Syria and Iraq.

    Allies back Saudi Arabia in showdown with Iran

    SOURCE: Agencies


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