Saudi Arabia has arrested 18 people, including an Iranian, a Lebanese citizen and 16 Saudis, for spying, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Spokesman of the Saudi Interior Ministry Major General Mansour Al-Turki (photo) said on state television Tuesday that the suspects were “involved with a spy network working for a foreign country”.
Al-Turki later told Reuters he could not say who the 18 were suspected of spying for, pending further investigation.
The spying arrests, the first in recent memory, follow a string of accusations by Riyadh that an unnamed foreign country, widely understood to mean Iran, had instigated protests inside Saudi Arabia.
The arrests were made last Friday and the suspects were being investigated before being handed over to judicial authorities, Al-Turki said on television.
“They were gathering information about installations and vital areas in the country and providing intelligence agencies of that state with it,” he added.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said that during the past eight months its Security Forces have arrested 149 people of different nationalities, mostly Saudis, who belong to 19 cells linked to Al Qaida.
It also noted that it has confiscated 2.24 million Saudi riyals collected by the group with an aim of spreading its ideology.
Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said the foiling of these attacks indicates the competence and capability of Saudi Security Forces in its determination to uproot terrorism.
In press statements, Al Attiyah underscored the GCC states’ firm stance which condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He underlined the importance of intensifying regional and international cooperation to eliminate terrorism.
Source: Reuters; Gulf News