Saudi Arabia Disrupts Terror Plot – Massive Arrests
By William Tucker
Saudi Arabian security affairs spokesman Mansour al-Turki announced today that the Kingdom had arrested 113 militants – half of which are Yemeni. According to the KSA government, the militants were divided into three cells with two cells planning suicide attacks against oil and gas infrastructure. The Saudis did not come out and identify al-Qaeda by name, but they did use language typical of government officials that indicate al-Qaeda was indeed behind the plot. The size, scope and ambition of the plot show that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is still determined and capable of launching attacks regionally.
That being said there are other elements that need to be explored. For instance, the KSA government stated that in addition to the Yemenis involved in the plot individuals from Bangladesh, Eritrea and Somalia were also arrested. This is an interesting development because in the past two years al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been working directly with al-Shabaab in Somalia sharing information and cooperating in training and recruiting. Furthermore, the government of Eritrea has been accused of supporting al-Shabaab to counter Ethiopian influence with other Somalia militant groups. Although al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula suffered a large setback today the larger al-Qaeda network in the region is hardly a spent force.
Map credit: U.S. Department of Energy
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