Saudis claim to foil 95 percent
of Al Qaida attacks

Friday, September 3, 2004

ABU DHABI Saudi Arabia has asserted that authorities have foiled the lion's share of Al Qaida operations.

Officials said that over the last three months Al Qaida has been unable to launch a major attack against Western or Saudi interests in the kingdom.

They said a series of cells have been captured throughout the country. Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz said authorities have foiled 95 percent of what he termed terrorist operations in the kingdom. Nayef said five percent of Al Qaida operations have been successful.

"I can say, confidently, that what happened does not exceed five or six percent of what was foiled," Nayef said in a reception to tribal leaders on Aug. 28. "Numerous, more severe events were about to take place, using stronger explosives. But security men uncovered and foiled them."

Officials said the success of Saudi forces reflects increased training and the use of advanced systems to track and capture Al Qaida insurgents.

They said these include the operation of a new command and control center that processes and distributes information on the movement of insurgents to police and security forces.

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz said authorities have captured the key members of the Al Qaida network in the kingdom.

Abdullah said the remaining insurgents were now being sought. One of the leading Al Qaida insurgents was said to have been captured in April and later died in custody. He was identified as Muhsan Al Sihan, responsible for Al Qaida attacks in Riyad in 2003 and early 2004 and regarded as No. 2 in the insurgency network.

"Well finish off all those who dare to tamper with our security and stability," Abdullah said on Aug. 30. "We will not show any leniency in this matter."

Officials said authorities killed an Al Qaida insurgent and captured four others in a raid in eastern Saudi Arabia. Earlier, security forces captured three Al Qaida operatives, including a Pakistani national, in Al Ahsa. They said the operatives arrested over the last three days were not on the Interior Ministry's list of 26 top fugitives.

Still, Western diplomats and nationals continue to come under attack in Saudi Arabia. On Aug. 30, a car belonging to the U.S. consulate in Jedda came under small-arms fire. Nobody was injured.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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