RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi authorities on Monday announced the arrests of terrorist suspects and the discovery of large quantities of weapons and ammunition during raids around the kingdom.
A Saudi Interior Ministry official, speaking to the official Saudi Press Agency, did not say when the suspects and weapons were found.
But the large quantities of weapons — including over 180 assault rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and several pounds of explosive materials — suggest the raids were carried out over a period of time. Authorities also said they found computers, discs, explosive belts for suicide attacks and a manual on how to carry out assassinations.
Saudi Arabia (search) has cracked down on Islamic militants in highly publicized raids after suicide attacks in the capital in May, but the government reveals few details of the operations or names of the arrested or killed.
Almost weekly raids since the May attacks have revealed an extensive network of alleged terrorist cells and weapons caches across the country. The raids have led to the detention of about 200 people and more than 10 people killed in shootouts with security forces.
On Monday, Saudi television aired pictures of the seized weapons.
"Through these operations, some of the wanted (suspects) were arrested, and the search continues for some fugitives," the official told SPA.
He did not say how many suspects were still sought.
"The Ministry of Interior is relentless in tracing all those who harm the safety of this pure country and will continue all efforts firmly to catch all the terrorist cells wherever they are and whoever is helping to form, finance or hide them."
Saudi officials were not available for comment late Monday.
The caches were found in raids around the kingdom: a shop in a western suburb of Riyadh (search); two houses and a farm south of the capital in al-Magmaa district; and a village near the holy city of Mecca (search), where they found a buried container "used by terrorists to store weapons and equipment."
The authorities also found weapons and inflammatory literature at a house in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah (search), and material to make explosives hidden in an empty well in al-Qassim, 220 miles northwest of the capital, Riyadh.
The official said the raids followed "investigation and follow-up" of previously announced arrests.