First Published: 2013-03-20

 

Saudi dismantles spy ring

 

Authorities arrest 16 Saudis, Iranian, Lebanese on charges of espionage for foreign country.

 

Middle East Online

Spying for which foreign country?

RIYADH - The Saudi authorities have arrested 18 suspected spies, including an Iranian and a Lebanese, on charges of espionage for a foreign country, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

"Sixteen Saudis, an Iranian and a Lebanese were arrested in coordinated and simultaneous operations in four regions of the kingdom," including the capital Riyadh and the holy city of Mecca, the ministry said in a statement.

The suspects, some of whom were arrested in Eastern Province where the kingdom's Shiite minority is concentrated, were working for a foreign country which it did not name, the statement added.

Their arrest was made after the ministry had "received information concerning the involvement of Saudis and expats in espionage on behalf of a another country," said the statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The suspects "gathered information on vital installations which they provided to the country" they had been working for, it added.

Although the ministry did not reveal the name of the country for which the suspects were allegedly working, the announcement that an Iranian is implicated could point to Iran.

Saudi Arabia and its partners in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council have strained ties with Iran which they suspect of supporting Shiite opposition protests in GCC member Bahrain, which like its partners is Sunni-ruled.

News of the arrests came as rights activists on Tuesday reported that Saudi security forces had arrested several Shiites across the kingdom, including two clerics, over the past days for unspecified reasons.

Since early 2011, mainly Shiite towns in Eastern Province have seen sporadic protests and confrontations between police and Shiite residents who complain of marginalisation.

There are an estimated two million Shiites in the Sunni-dominated kingdom of about 27.5 million people.

 

New government in Yemen plus cut in fuel prices

11 Egypt policemen killed in Sinai bomb blast

US army back in Somalia

Paris, Riyadh 'finalising' $3bn Lebanon arms deal

Sudan orders Iran to close cultural centres

Syria arrests pro-regime activists over criticism

Libya pro-Islamist figure presents rival cabinet lineup

Israel faces mounting criticism over Palestinian land grab

Saudi Arabia arrests 88 suspected extremists in 'anti-terror' drive

New UN chief for South Sudan faces ‘huge challenge’

US air strikes target senior Shebab officials in Somalia

‘Scourge of terrorism’ pushes Africa to intensify cooperation

Relatives of missing Iraq soldiers storm parliament in Baghdad

IS accused of 'systematic ethnic cleansing' in Iraq

UK announces tougher measures against Britons planning jihad

Algeria hosts new round of Mali peace talks

US launches new round of air strikes around Iraq dam

Turkey summons US charge d'affaires over Snowden claims

Turkey new PM promises peace with Kurds

Will UN Human Rights Council investigate IS abuses?

Iran convicts Ahmadinejad's vice president for embezzlement

Fierce clashes shatter uneasy calm near armistice line in Golan Heights

Turkey detains dozens of police in new nationwide raids

Libya loses control of Tripoli to Islamist-led militias

Thousands of Huthis defy UN in new show of strength

Iraq presses fightback against jihadist-led militants

Wounded Gazans need long-term care

Britain to go tougher on jihadist suspects

Libyan Islamist militiamen control US embassy compound

Israel shoots down drone over occupied Golan Heights

Yemen army suffers heavy losses in new wave of Qaeda attacks

Turkish army breaks silence on Kurdish peace talks

Islamic State offers grim inspiration to African extremists

Shebab target intelligence HQ in Somalia

Israel expropriates 988 acres of Palestinian land in West Bank

Iraq recaptures Amerli from Islamic State in biggest success so far

Saudi King calls for ‘strong and rapid action’ against jihadists

Jihadists distribute Yazidi women as spoils of war to fighters

Gulf countries resolve six-month dispute with Qatar

Egypt reduces Badie death sentence to life in prison

AU forces liberate former Shebab stronghold in Somalia

Philippines enters war in Syria!

Kurds put aside old rivalries to battle jihadists in Iraq

Iran says new sanctions cast doubt on US sincerity

US imposes new sanctions on Iran