Saudi Arabia 'foils terrorist attack at World Cup qualifier'

Saudi Arabia 'foils terrorist attack at World Cup qualifier'
2 min read
31 October, 2016
A number of "imminent" attacks were thwarted, Saudi officials said, including a plan to bomb a stadium in Jeddah during an international football match
Saudi security officials thwarted an "imminent" car-bomb attack [AFP]
Saudi Arabia foiled a plot to bomb a football World Cup 2018 qualifier, its interior ministry has said.

Authorities thwarted a plan to detonate a car full of explosives at the al-Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah during a match between Saudi and United Arab Emirates' national teams on October 11.

A Ministry of Interior spokesman said surveillance operations led to the arrest of four suspects a day before the game.

"The security authorities have dealt with information about terror activities and threats associated with the terrorist organisation of Daesh abroad, reaching advanced levels indicating that some of them are imminent," Major General Mansour al-Turki said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Four suspects were arrested over the match bomb plot; two Pakistanis, a Syrian national and a Sudanese man.

"The security authorities dealt with the matter with utmost alert and seriousness, enforcing more reinforcements and measures at the site and decisively dealing with any suspicion," al-Turki added.

Saudi authorities also tracked down a "terrorist cell" of four members - all Saudi nationals - based in Shaqraa, Riyadh, which had plotted to kill members of the kingdom's security forces on orders from an IS leader in Syria.

IS has carried out a series of attacks since mid-2014 against the Saudi government, which the group strongly opposes for its close ties to the West, as well as the kingdom's Shia Muslim community.

Last month, authorities uncovered an IS-linked terrorist network planning attacks on civilians, security personnel and government sites, arresting 17 people.