Saudi Arabia has arrested 431 Islamic State militants it says helped carry out a series of deadly attacks within OPEC’s biggest oil producer.
Most of those arrested are Saudi, yet the group includes Jordanians, Syrians, Yemenis and Nigerians, according to a statement from an Interior Ministry spokesman published by the official Saudi Press Agency. Some of the militants belong to cells that carried out attacks including suicide bombings of Shiite mosques and shootings of security personnel, while others provided equipment and logistical aid, the spokesman said.
Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in a military intervention against Shiite rebels in Yemen and is part of U.S.- led operations against the Islamic State in Syria. By targeting Saudi Shiites, a minority that already harbors doubts about the kingdom’s commitment to protecting them, Islamic State sought to tap the same sectarian divisions that have erupted into civil wars in several of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors.
Saudi authorities have foiled other attacks that the cells were planning during the fasting month of Ramadan, which ended on Friday, including more mosque bombings and assassinations, according to the statement.