April 1, 2006

Saudi Arabia foiled 90 pct of attacks: minister

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has foiled about 90 percent
of attacks militants had planned to carry out in the world's
largest oil exporting kingdom, a top official said on Saturday.

"This is thanks to God and to detailed security effort and
continuous tracking of terrorist cells," Interior Minister
Prince Nayef told pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper.

Nayef declined to say when he expected Saudi forces to end
militant attacks in the country, which announced this week the
arrest of 40 suspected militants and the seizure of an major
arms cache.

Eight of those arrested were linked to al Qaeda's attack on
the world's largest oil processing plant in Abqaiq in February.

Crown Prince Sultan has said authorities aim to end
"terrorist activity" in the country within two years.

Saudi authorities were coordinating with their Iraqi
counterparts to hand over any Saudi militant who had crossed
into Iraq. "(They are used) as explosive devices or suicide
bombers," Nayef said.

Western diplomats say up to 3,000 Saudis have sneaked
through the porous borders to fight the U.S.-led coalition in

Nayef said authorities will soon put on trial suspected
militants and are setting up a special court that will ensure
they have a fair trial. He did not elaborate.

The Saudi wing of al Qaeda has been waging a violent
campaign for more than two years aimed at toppling the pro-U.S.
monarchy and expelling Westerners from the birthplace of Islam.

Officials say about 144 foreigners and Saudis, including
security forces, and 120 militants have died in attacks and
clashes with police since May 2003, when al Qaeda suicide
bombers hit three Western housing compounds in Riyadh.