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Saudi vows to defeat 'Terrorists,' warns citizens
( 2003-08-14 15:51) (Agencies)

Crown Prince Abdullah vowed that Saudi Arabia will triumph over "evil powers" and continue its crackdown on suspected militants, and warned citizens on Thursday not to sympathize with or support "terrorists."

His comments followed warnings by the United States and Britain on Wednesday of new terror threats in Saudi Arabia, a key regional U.S. ally and the world's largest oil exporter.

"In the battle between powers of good and powers of evil, there is no room for neutrality or hesitancy...He who protects or sympathizes with a terrorist is himself a terrorist and will receive his just punishment," the crown prince said in remarks carried by the official Saudi Press Agency on Thursday.

Facing accusations of failing to rein in militants, Saudi Arabia has cracked down on Islamists suspected of links to al Qaeda after suicide bombings in Riyadh in May killed 35 people.

There have been several bloody clashes with militants in which at least 16 suspects and 11 Saudi policemen were killed.

As the world's top oil supplier, Saudi Arabia is key to the world economy and the spate of bombings and violence has raised concerns over fuel supplies to the West.

Crown Prince Abdullah urged citizens to help security forces combat a "misguided, deviant group of terrorists."

"We will continue on our path, believing and trusting in God, confident of victory...," he told a gathering of security men, military forces and ordinary citizens.

On Wednesday, Washington issued a new travel warning for Saudi Arabia, saying it had credible information about threats against U.S. and Western interests, including civil aviation.

Earlier in the day Britain said it had credible intelligence on security threats to British aviation interests in Saudi Arabia and British Airways suspended flights to the kingdom.

The warnings followed a gunbattle on Tuesday between Saudi police and Islamic militants -- the second major clash with suspected militants in the capital Riyadh in three days and the fourth clash reported in the kingdom in less than a month.

A senior Saudi official in Washington said that 10 gunmen arrested after a shootout between militants and police on Sunday were a "major cell that were targeting a British target."

Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz said on Wednesday that authorities were "closing in fast" on terrorists and called on them to surrender.

At least 200 suspects, including non-Saudis, have been arrested since the attacks on housing compounds in Riyadh.

Western sources in Saudi Arabia say Riyadh is helping to tackle Saudi-based members and financiers of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, blamed for the September 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities.

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