In what appears to be another case of Saudi home-grown terrorism, Saudi police conducted raids earlier this week on two suspected terror cells. The incident raises many security concerns as thousands of visitors are pouring into the country in advance of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Saudi officials recently received tips about the suspicious behavior of two men living in the eastern Riyadh neighborhood of Mounsiya.
During one raid, security forces surrounded the apartment of two Saudi brothers, identified as 21 year-old Ahmed Saeed Jaber al-Zahrani, and 19 year-old Mohammed Saeed Jaber al-Zahrani. Rather than peacefully surrender, the brothers fired guns and threw grenades at the Saudi authorities. Luckily, officials were able to evacuate nearby homes prior to the raid. The battle ultimately ended in the brothers’ surrender.
At the first site, authorities seized thousands of dollars, machine guns with ammunition, several fully-equipped machine gun magazines, ten revolver magazines, weapon cleaning bags, mobile phones, counterfeiting paraphernalia, three pistols, five generates and several other items.
During a raid conducted simultaneously with the first raid, authorities gathered in the central village of Dhurma to surround another suspected terrorist cell. After a brief battle, the group of terror suspects escaped and police, at this time, are still pursuing the men. The suspects fled the area in a pickup truck with Omani license plates.
At this site, officials seized an explosive belt located in a car. It was defused. Also found was a laboratory used for manufacturing explosives.
The raids come as Saudi authorities continue to crack down against homegrown extremists. Just recently, the Sunni extremist group, ISIS, claimed responsibility for a recent spate of bombings in the eastern part of the country. ISIS actively has been working to recruit the Saudi youth into carrying out attacks on their home soil.
In July alone, Saudi authorities stated that they arrested 431 suspects connected to ISIS, their largest arrest to date. They also stopped numerous attempted suicide attacks in Riyadh and the eastern part of the country.