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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 00:39 GMT 01:39 UK
Saudis arrest 40 terror suspects
Saudi secuirty officer
Saudi authorities say they have broken the back of militants
The authorities in Saudi Arabia say they have arrested 40 suspected members of al-Qaeda, or "the deviant group" as the government refers to it.

Saudi television said the arrests were made in several parts of the country, including the capital, Riyadh.

Explosives and firearms were also seized during the raids.

Eight of those held are said to be linked to a cell that tried to bomb the world's biggest oil processing plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, last month.

Saudi television gave a detailed description of the raids, showing a footage of the seized weapons and explosives.

It said the security forces carried out simultaneous raids across the country, including Riyadh and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The number of those arrested and the scope of the raids show that al-Qaeda still poses a serious threat to the Saudi royal family, the BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhad says.

The arrests come despite repeated assurances by Saudi authorities that they have broken the back of Saudi militants and killed their top leaders, our analyst says.


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