Saudi Arabian security forces claim to have uncovered a plot to launch a series of attacks on oil installations in the country. Caches of guns, ammunition and money have been discovered buried in remote areas. More than 700 al Qaeda suspects have been detained since the beginning of the year.
Interior ministry officials say some of the detainees were part of a wider plot managed from abroad. There were 40 Mauritanians among those held in the eastern province as well as Afghans, Iraqis and Yemenis, said a security source.
Police believe the suspects planned to use car bombs in a series of attacks co-ordinated by al Qaeda which planned to send fighters from Afghanistan and North Africa to assist the operations.
Al Qaeda has called for attacks against the Saudi government in the past, criticising its alliance with the United States and hoping to disrupt the flow of oil to the West.