ABU DHABI Ñ Saudi authorities have intercepted at least 100,000 infiltrators from
Iraq and Jordan during 2004, Saudi security sources said. The insurgents included a
range of North African nationals.
The security sources said the effort was meant to prevent insurgents
from crossing the borders with Iraq and Yemen. They said Al Qaida has used
both countries for the smuggling of weapons and insurgents into the kingdom.
"Saudi Arabian border forces have turned back tens of thousands of
infiltrators from Iraq this year," Saudi ambassador to Bahrain, Abdullah Bin
Ibrahim Al Quwaiz, said.
Saudi Arabia has also been used as a way-station for Al Qaida to enter
other Gulf Cooperation Council states, the sources said. They said Al Qaida
aligned groups have entered Saudi Arabia from Iraq on their way to Kuwait.
Al Quwaiz said most of the infiltration to and from Saudi Arabia was
comprised of Saudi nationals. The ambassador said the infiltrators also
included Chadians, Moroccans, Somalis and Yemenis.
On Sept. 28, Saudi authorities reported detaining a ship loaded with
weapons off the coast of the southern kingdom at Jazan. Officials said the
ship included 543 AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles and large quantities of
ammunition and was heading from Yemen to Sudan.
At the same time, the sources said Saudi forces were on heightened alert
along the southern border with Yemen. They said Saudi security forces had
been warned of an Al Qaida attempt to smuggle two vehicles loaded with
weapons and explosives from Yemen. Yemen was said to be cooperating in
the Saudi effort.
The Saudi ambassador said Al Qaida has stayed clear of Saudi military
and security targets because of improved protection. He said Saudi Arabia
has expanded instruction and training in counter-terrorism to military and
"Some universities and security and military colleges are now teaching
specialized courses on how to combat terrorism," he said.