UAE and Saudi security forces arrest cell planning terror attacks

Authorities say 'organised cell from deviant group' amassed equipment and devices for terrorist attacks in UAE and other countries.

ABU DHABI // Security forces said today they had arrested a terrorist cell accused of plotting attacks against the UAE and neighbouring countries.

The investigation and arrests were carried out in co-ordination with security forces in Saudi Arabia, and those arrested were Emirati and Saudi nationals, the state news agency Wam said.

It provided no further details of when or where the arrests took place, or how many were detained.

Those arrested were members of an "organised cell from the deviant group that was planning to carry out actions against national security of both countries and some brotherly states," Wam said.

The phrase "the deviant group" is often used by authorities in Saudi Arabia to describe militants linked to Al Qaeda.

UAE security authorities said the two countries had been investigating the cell for some time, and discovered that its members were importing material, equipment and devices with the intent of carrying out terrorist acts. Those arrested have been referred to the Federal State Security Prosecutor for further investigation.

In August, Saudi authorities arrested a group of suspected Al Qaeda militants, mostly Yemeni nationals, in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has arrested thousands of suspected militants since the 2003-2006 attacks on residential compounds for foreign workers and on Saudi government facilities in which dozens were killed.

This year authorities in the UAE arrested a group of 60 local Islamists tied to Al Islah, the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, on charges of threatening state security.

They were charged with violating Article 180 of the penal code, which bans the formation of any political organisation or any organisation that compromises the security of the state, and with having connections with foreign bodies to harm the political leadership.

Authorities said at the time that they had uncovered an organised effort to undermine the Government, with a military wing and an active fund-raising operation.

* Additional reporting by Reuters

Published: December 26, 2012 04:00 AM