Terrorism: May 12, 2003

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In the last week, the Saudi Arabian government arrested 149 Saudis suspected of participating in an al Qaeda plot to launch terror attacks in the kingdom. This comes after two cars and a house used by a group of 19 al Qaeda members were raided. Some laptop computers and other records were seized (along with weapons and explosives) were seized, and it's apparently this information that led to the additional arrests. The arrest of the 149 men was not announced by the government, to avoid creating panic. But the rumors are persistent that not only were the arrests made among merchants in Qasim province, a group long known for their opposition to the Saudi monarchy, and financial support for Osama bin Laden. Saudi support for the war in Iraq was expected to create unrest in Saudi Arabia. In the last month, it is estimated that some $25 billion has been sent out of the kingdom in anticipation of unrest. But the rapid defeat of Iraq has caused shock and confusion among Saudis, who still feel hostility for al Qaeda (which has already launched some terror attacks, which have left Saudi civilians dead.) The current al Qaeda arrests are said to have prevented attempts to poison water supplies in the capital, as well as assassinations of government officials and attacks on Americans and other foreigners.


 

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