The Saudi kingdom is not host to inactive cells of Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network, newspapers quoted high-ranking Saudi officials as saying Sunday.
"If there were sleeping (Al-Qaeda) cells we would have woken them up through various security methods, but, God willing, they are not present," Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz told Okaz newspaper.
His deputy, Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz, told Al-Hayat the United States had not accused Saudi Arabia "over the presence of sleeping Al-Qaeda cells on its territory because the network has no presence in the kingdom."
Prince Ahmad said Saudi nationals returning from "Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries" underwent a short period of questioning. "This is just a precautionary measure to complete information regarding members of Al-Qaeda network and those involved in its activities," Prince Ahmad said, without providing further detail.
In addition, Prince Nayef advised Saudi citizens against travelling to the United States to avoid complicated immigration measures adopted by the US authorities in wake of the September 11 terror attacks.
"Every country has the right to take whatever measures deemed appropriate on its territory," Prince Nayef added. "For Saudi citizens, I don't think there is a need to travel to the US except for (medical) treatment, study or work." (Albawaba.com)
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