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"Saudi police uncover new aircraft terror plot"
Friday, April 27, 2007
Saudi police uncover new aircraft terror plot
By Jenny Booth
United Kingdom - The Times of London
Police in Riyadh say that they have arrested Islamic militants who were
being trained as pilots to fly suicide attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields.
The Saudi interior ministry issued a statement saying that the 172 detainees
held in raids today were involved in plots to carry out suicide atttacks
against "public figures, oil facilities, refineries ... and military zones".
Some of the planned targets were outside the Saudi kingdom.
"They had reached an advance stage of readiness and what remained only was
to set the zero hour for their attacks," Brigadier Mansour al-Turki, an
interior ministry spokesman, told the Associated Press news agency.
"They had the personnel, the money, the arms. Almost all the elements for
terror attacks were complete, except for setting the zero hour for the
The ministry did not say that the militants would fly aircraft into oil
refineries, as the 9/11 hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and
Washington, but it said in a statement that some detainees had been "sent to
other countries to study flying in preparation for using them to carry out
terrorist attacks inside the kingdom".
The militants also planned to storm Saudi prisons to free the inmates, the
In their crackdown, the police seized large quantities of weapons,
explosives and money. More than 120 million riyals (US$32.4 million) had
been seized in the operation, one of the largest sweeps against terror cells
in the kingdom.
The ministry did not name the terrorist group that the militants allegedly
belonged to. It referred to them only as a "deviant group" - the Saudi term
for Islamic terrorist.
Brigadier al-Turki told the privately-owned Al-Arabiya TV channel that the
militants included non-Saudis.
Al-Ekhbariah, the Saudi state TV channel, broadcast footage of a large
quantity of weapons discovered buried in the desert. The arms included AK-47
rifles and ammunition, other rifles and handguns, and bricks of plastic
explosives, all wrapped in plastic sheeting.
Al-Ekhbariah showed investigators breaking tiled floors with hammers to
uncover pipes that contained weapons. In one scene, an official upends a
plastic pipe and bullets and little packets of plastic explosives spill out.
The channel also showed investigators digging up plastic sacks in the
The al-Qaeda terror group, whose leader, Osama bin Laden, is a Saudi, has
called for attacks on the kingdom's oil facilities as a means of crippling
both the kingdom's economy and the hurting the West, whom he accuses of
paying too little for Arab oil.
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