November 1, 2009 / 3:07 PM / 11 years ago

Saudis find arms cache linked to August arrests-TV

RIYADH, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Saudi authorities have discovered a large arms cache near Riyadh linked to 44 militants whose arrest was announced in August, state television said on Sunday.

It did not say when the cache was discovered, but the report is a fresh sign of the security risk that haunts OPEC’s biggest oil producer, where a top security official survived a suicide attack in August.

Television footage showed security forces unearthing 281 assault rifles and 41,OOO rounds of ammunition hidden in a concrete block buried near the capital.

The cache is linked to the 44 "deviant" militants suspected of planning attacks, the television said. [ID:nLJ723789] Officials use the term "deviant group" to refer to members of radical Islamic groups such as al Qaeda.

Authorities said in August the arrests led to the seizure of 17 rifles, 50 machineguns, 96 remote detonators and ammunition in Riyadh and the northern province of Qassim.

Saudi Arabia has battled Islamist militants who launched a campaign to destabilise the U.S.-allied monarchy in 2003.

The violence has subsided since 2006 but security concerns were revived when Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef survived an assassination bid inside his palace in August.

The government has arrested hundreds of suspects this year on suspicion of trying to revive militant cells and in February issued a list of 85 wanted militants believed to be abroad. (Writing by Souhail Karam; editing by Dominic Evans)

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