600 Al-qaida suspects held in Saudi

Oct. 23, 2003 at 10:26 AM

LONDON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal told a London conference Thursday Saudi police have arrested 600 suspected members of the al-Qaida network since May.

Al-Turki, ambassador to Britain and Ireland, said the Saudi authorities rounded up large numbers of Muslim extremists believed to belong to al-Qaida who planned to attack government and foreign targets.

"The number of terror suspects detained since the May (Riyadh) attacks is 600," al-Turki said at a conference in London on Saudi Arabia's fight on terrorism.

"Some 190 suspects have already been released while 70 to 90 were referred to trial and (an) investigation is still being carried out with another 250 to 300 suspects," al-Turki said.

He said Saudi Arabia has passed new laws to curb the financing of terrorism and money laundering and increased cooperation with the United States and Britain on exchanging information about terrorists.

Al-Turki also said Saudi Arabia tried to no avail to convince the Taliban movement to hand over Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11, 2001.

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