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Pattaya Daily News

25 March 2010 :: 16:03:42 pm 16544

Al-Qaeda Oil-Plant Bomb Plot Scotched In Saudi

113 'al-Qaeda militants' have been arrested by security forces in Saudi Arabia accused of planning mass attacks on oil instillations, the life blood of the country, as well as security forces. The three separate groups consisted of 58 Saudis and 55 foreign Arabs many of whom had infiltrated that country via desert borders or on the pretense of visiting holy shrines.
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March 25, 2010, [Pattaya Daily News]: Saudi security forces have arrested 113 suspected ‘al-Qaeda terrorists who had plans to attack the oil-rich Eastern Province, home to Saudi Arabia’s main oil fields, instillations and refineries, specifically those run by Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, managing reserves of 260 billion barrels of crude oil and the fourth-largest gas reserves in the world.

Saudi Aramco used to be an essentially Western-run company, as the American Arabian Oil Company largely managed by American oil companies, like what are now Chevron, Exxon, Texaco till it was progressively nationalized by the Saudi Arabian government between 1973 and 1980, when essentially all of Aramco‘s assets were transferred to the government. Its headquarters is in Dhahran, with camps, essentially self-contained oil-oases, located throughout the kingdom, in Jeddah and Rub‘ al-Khali desert, but largely in the east.

The network of 101 suspects, composed of 47 Saudis and others from Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and Bangladesh, according to interior ministry spokesman, Mansour al-Turki, which specialised in targeting security personnel and oil installations. The network were linked to an al-Qaeda affiliate based in neighbouring Yemen, which had expanded operations recently due to the currently unstable nature of the country. Saudi government forces have been attempting to subdue Shia Houthi separatists on the northern Yemeni border.

Two other terrorist cells, 12 suspects in all, described as suicide bombers from their explosive-laden belts, and apparently working independently of the larger group, were also arrested and weapons, ammunition cameras, pre-paid telephone cards, cash, documents and computers confiscated. Both groups were apparently intending to attack unspecified oil facilities almost immediately. They were all arrested over a five-month period.

The recent merger, in January 2009, between the al-Qaeda networks in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen, and their relocation to Yemen’s northern border has unnerved security forces in Riyadh. Yemen is the homeland of Bin Laden family, the miltant faction of which is essentially opposed to the predominantly Western influence in Saudi and has as its endgame the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, to be attained by causing the downfall of the Saudi royal family and Yemeni government, largely through attacks on oil facilities, and their infrastructure, foreign workers and security forces.

The large terrorist group was discovered following an attempt by three suspected Al-Qaeda militants, two of them dressed as women, to enter Saudi Arabia, armed with explosives last October. Many of those recently arrested in southern province of Jazan, near the border with Yemen, had come to Saudi Arabia on visas to visit holy sites, as job-applicants, or by sneaking across its borders, which are almost impossible to contain, spanning 1,450km (900 miles), over inhospitable desert terrain.

A number of successful terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia killed 35 people in Riyadh in May 2003, and a further 17 in a subsequent attack that year. A year later, 30 were killed in Al Khobar during an attack on a residential compound for oil workers. In August, 2009, a suicide bomber with explosive underpants almost killed Saudi Arabia’s security chief, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

Earlier in March, Saudi King Abdullah said the kingdom is determined to halt extremism, saying “A special effort has been made to confront the thinking of the group of deviants, extremists and terrorists.”

Reporter : Sirithanon   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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