Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry says it has arrested more than 170 suspect al Qaeda militants including some who were training as pilots. It says it has recovered large quantities of weapons and money hidden in caches in the desert.
An Arabic language television channel showed officers digging in the sand and searching buildings in an unspecified part of the kingdom.
In a statement the ministry said some of those arrested had taking flying lessons to carry out suicide attacks on Saudi oil installations.
Islamic militants swearing allegiance to al Qaeda launched a violent campaign to topple the monarchy in 2003. They have since launched deadly attacks on foreigners and Saudi government targets.