October 30, 2016 / 12:53 PM / 2 years ago

Saudi Arabia says arrests Islamic State suspects plotting attacks

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has arrested at least eight suspected militants plotting killings and a car bombing, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, and authorities were pursuing other accomplices.

A ministry statement said those arrested included Islamic State suspects who had planned killings of security officials in the Shaqra district north of the capital Riyadh.

Other militants had planned to attack civilians in the eastern city of Qatif and stage a car bomb attack on a visiting United Arab Emirates (UAE) football team at a stadium in the western port city of Jeddah, the statement said.

The statement said the eight arrested suspects included two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese. Eight Saudis and a Bahraini were among the suspects still at large, it said.

Saudi security forces have grappled with sporadic attacks by adherents to the ultra-hardline Islamic State militant group, which is based in Iraq and Syria, and say they have arrested hundreds of its members.

Local Saudi affiliates of Islamic State have carried out several deadly shootings and bombings in the conservative kingdom, the world’s No. 1 oil exporter. Many of the attacks have targeted security personnel and Shi’ite Muslim mosques.

The Sunni Islamic State is bitterly hostile to the Gulf Arab monarchies and is seen to be trying to stoke Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian confrontation in Arabian peninsula countries to destabilize and ultimately overthrow them.

Reporting by Noah Browning, Reem Shamseddine, Ali Abdelatti in Cairo; writing by William Maclean; editing by Mark Heinrich

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