Saudis arrest 29 al-Qaida militants

March 4, 2008 at 1:20 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, March 4 (UPI) -- Saudi authorities arrested 28 people thought to be rebuilding the al-Qaida terror network in Saudi Arabia, a government spokesman said.

A spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the suspects were collecting money "to finance their criminal activities" by soliciting donations for the needy in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a front, the Arab News said.

One of the suspects supposedly had an audio recording in his cell phone from al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri that said "The bearer of this message is one of our trusted brothers, therefore, please give him your donations to help hundreds of families of captives and martyrs in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

The spokesman said the suspects were recruiting men to send on missions intended to harm Saudi Arabia's national security interests.

Saudi authorities arrested 28 people in December believed to be plotting attacks on Mecca and Medina during the hajj pilgrimage.

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