Saudi security forces deatined 44 suspected members of al-Qaeda in a sweep that also uncovered dozens of machine guns and electronic circuits for bombs, the government said Wednesday. According to the AP, 30 members of the group hold advanced university degrees, mostly in the field of science, and some have received training in the kingdom and abroad on preparing explosives, forging travel documents and using light and heavy weapons, said the Interior Ministry.
The ministry's spokesman, Mansour al-Turki, conveyed that the suspects sought to set up cells "that would carry out their goals without their direct involvement.""They're like an engine that manipulates others while working in the shadows," he was quoted as saying.
Some of those arrested had "tight links" with al-Qaeda's foreign-based leadership, said an Interior Ministry statement.
The suspects, all but one of whom are from Saudi Arabia, sought to recruit youths and finance their activities through charitable donations, said the statement, which was published by the official Saudi Press Agency. The group was arrested in a campaign that began more than a year ago and ended Aug. 2.