Some of the suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia trained to use civilian aircraft in suicide missions, an official said Saturday. Mansour al-Turki, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said the group of 172 extremists "are carriers of al-Qaeda ideology, working on achieving al-Qaeda goals, which is to take over the society."
Saudi Arabia announced Friday it had stopped plans to launch air attacks on the kingdom's oil refineries, break detainees out of prison and send suicide attackers to kill government officials. Al-Turki said Friday that some of those arrested had trained abroad as pilots.
"They were trained on civilian aircraft, to use the aircraft as a tool to carry out suicide operations," al-Turki told The Associated Press.
Al-Turki told The AP that the suspects planned to use the planes "like car bombs ... to use the aircraft as a tool to carry out suicide operations." He said the targets also included Saudi military bases. According to an interior ministry statement, the al Qaeda members had trained in a "troubled" country nearby. "It could be Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, there are so many troubled regions in the world. I can't specify," al-Turki said.
The Saudi Interior Ministry has said they were organized into seven cells and planned to stage suicide attacks on "public figures, oil facilities, refineries ... and military zones," including some outside the kingdom. It did not identify any of the targets. "Documents and confessions from the detained uncovered that they were targeting public figures, including officials, ministers, policemen, directors of vital sectors," al-Turki said Saturday.