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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct 3, (Agencies): Saudi Arabia said Saturday it had arrested a Syrian man and a Filipina for allegedly manufacturing suicide bomb belts in the kingdom’s capital. The official Saudi Press Agency reported Saturday that the two were arrested in Riyadh.
It said the Filipina sewed explosive belts for the Syrian, who arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2010. It also said she wore such a belt when the man was gone. It said police raided their house in Riyadh’s al-Fayah district on Wednesday, defusing the booby traps inside and finding two explosive belts, bombmaking materials and a machine gun and ammunition.
A second raid in Riyadh’s al- Jazirah neighborhood turned up no bombs, it said. The agency identified the Filipina as Lady Gioi Aban Bali Nang and the Syrian man as Yasser Mohammed Shafiq al-Barazi. It wasn’t clear if they had lawyers and Saudi officials could not be immediately reached. The agency report offered no motive for the alleged plot.
A local Islamic State affiliate has claimed a series of recent attacks. Saudi Arabia has this year been grappling with a rising radical Sunni Muslim militancy linked to Islamic State, which operates mainly in Iraq and Syria. The group says it wants to bring about the overthrow of the Gulf Arab states’ ruling dynasties and has called on Saudi Sunnis to carry out attacks inside the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has arrested hundreds of alleged sympathisers and last week’s raids were the second major security operation in the capital in the past month. Security forces captured two suspected militants and seized weapons and a explosive vest in raids on Sept 15.
This year, Islamic State suicide bombers attacked Shi’ite mosques in the Eastern province and in Kuwait. In August, at least 15 people were killed in an attack on a mosque used by members of a local security force in southwest Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, US Embassy in Riyadh put out a new security warning to US citizens in Saudi Arabia. “The US Embassy has been made aware of information indicating that there are threats against unspecified compounds in which United States citizens reside in the Eastern Province,” it said in a statement posted on its website. The embassy gave no specific details on nature of threat. Numerous US energy companies operate in the Eastern Province, where most kingdom’s oil wealth is located. Most of their foreign staff live in gated communities with high security.