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Saudi says holds militants, finds arms, explosives
( 2003-10-21 09:03)

Saudi Arabia, battling al Qaeda after deadly bombings earlier this year, said on Monday it had arrested Islamic militants and seized large amounts of weapons and explosives, including bomb-belts used by suicide bombers.

State television showed C-4 plastic explosives, home-made pipe bombs, assault rifles and ammunition belonging to what it called terrorist cells seized in several raids across the kingdom.

One raid led to the seizure of 161 Kalashnikov rifles and 116,000 rounds of ammunition, while another uncovered a laboratory for making explosives and manufacturing bombs.

An Interior Ministry statement read on television said an unspecified number of suspects were arrested during the raids in the capital Riyadh, the city of Jeddah and four other locations.

The raids followed a crackdown by Saudi Arabia -- birthplace of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- after suicide bombings in Riyadh in May killed 35 people, including nine Americans. The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed al Qaeda for the attacks.

Since the bombings, there have been several bloody clashes between security forces and militants in the country and the authorities have arrested more than 200 people.

The conservative kingdom is under intense U.S. pressure to destroy al Qaeda cells.

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