We aren’t done with the terrorists yet, Prince Naif says


“We cannot say that we are done with these deviants,” Prince Naif told Al-Riyadh Arabic daily. “But efforts will continue. The eyes…are wide open and efforts are under way to cleanse our country of every evil,” he said about the Kingdom’s campaign against Al-Qaeda militants.


The Interior Ministry said Friday it had foiled an Al-Qaeda-linked plot to attack oil facilities, military bases and public figures and arrested 172 people, including some who, it said, had trained to use aircraft for suicide attacks.


Most of those arrested were Saudis; others were from Yemen, Nigeria and other countries. Police seized weapons, computers and more than SR20 million in cash.


Prince Naif said security forces would continue their efforts to arrest militants linked to the seven cells. “If young men who were in the process of joining these cells but had not been involved in any crimes surrender to the ministry and provide whatever information they have, then this would be considered a step toward returning to the truth,” the minister said.


Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh denounced the militants for plotting to carry out terrorist attacks inside the Kingdom. In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, he said the oath taken by the militants in the name of their leader was a violation of the principle of loyalty to the Saudi leadership. “Their brazen oath to their leader and preparations involving arming themselves is a revolt against the ruler,” the mufti said, describing the move as “the gravest of sins.” He also compared them to the Kharijites.


The Muslim World League (MWL) also condemned the terrorist plots and urged both Saudis and expatriates to cooperate with security agencies to protect the Kingdom. Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of MWL, asked militants to admit their mistakes. Reacting to yesterday’s arrests, Shoura Council member Humood Al-Bader said that people should keep a close eye on their family members by observing changes in the way they dress that signal that they may have adopted new ideologies.


“Families should solve this in a constructive manner. They can do this by finding out more about their friends, where they hang out and their beliefs. If they notice anything suspicious then they shouldn’t start pressuring them but rather seek help if they are incapable of providing help themselves before the problems gets worse,” he said.


Regarding the new methods of raising funds that have been devised by militants, Al-Bader said that after the government banned random charity work, militants started persuading people to invest in bogus companies.


The Kingdom is home to many unconventional forms of investment such as investing in real estate in the form of unconventional stocks.


Mishari Thayedi, a political analyst, said there were indications that those arrested were involved with Al-Qaeda. “They have a leader and they are made up of young foot soldiers. Al-Qaeda is a major issue that governments are not capable of resolving,” he said.


Al-Thayedi did not rule out the possibility of the militants having received outside assistance by governments that have alliances with Al-Qaeda.


He cited “countries such as Iran and Libya, who both have a history in meddling in the affairs of the Kingdom.” He added that Al-Qaeda has vowed to wage an open war on the Kingdom by any means possible.


The Interior Ministry said in its statement on Friday that prominent figures such as writers and government officials were to be targeted by the militants. Al-Thayedi said this was positive news. “That only proves that the efforts of such people is benefiting in the war on terror,” he said.


Fares ibn Huzam, a Saudi political analyst, described the news about the new cells as Stage II of Al-Qaeda’s plans. “It’s different but they’re following the same stylebook,” he said, adding that he estimates that 120 out of the 172 militants arrested are under the age of 24.


“These new groups are not as professional as the old organization as they have not received the same training as their predecessors, and that makes it easer to dismantle their cells,” he said, adding that this can be seen by the fact that a large number of people had been arrested by security forces in six months without a single bullet being fired. This is unlike the activities of security forces that have previously been involved in heavy gunfire with diehard Al-Qaeda militants, who received training at Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.

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