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Saturday, February 03, 2007

S.Arabia arrests 10 in crackdown on terror funding

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi anti-terror forces have arrested 10 people suspected of raising and smuggling funds for "suspicious bodies," the official news agency said on Saturday.

The suspects "raised donations illegally and smuggled and transferred funds to suspicious bodies that use them to lure citizens and attract them into turbulent parts," the Saudi Press Agency quoted an interior ministry spokesman as saying.

Like other neighbors of Iraq, Saudi Arabia has often said it was working to prevent Islamist militants from crossing its border into Iraq to fight U.S.-led troops.

Many nationals of the conservative Muslim kingdom, including Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, funded and joined Afghan fighters in their drive to eject Soviet forces from Afghanistan after the 1979 invasion of the Muslim central Asian country.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has been battling a campaign launched by al Qaeda militants in 2003 to bring down the U.S.-allied Saudi monarchy, aimed at foreigners, oil installations and government buildings.

SPA said the group rounded up on Friday in the western cities of Jeddah and Medina comprised nine Saudis and one foreign resident. It said they were arrested in the drive to combat terrorism and its funding, but gave no further details.
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