Saudi Arabia has reportedly arrested three terror cells which had “reached the advanced stages” of planning four suicide attacks and had ties to the Islamic State group, Al Arabiya reported Monday morning.
Authorities detained 17 people who were developing four separate potential attacks aimed at Saudi Arabians, including, “religious scholars, security forces and military, security and economic facilities in different areas, as well as religious sites in al-Ahsa and security headquarters linked to the defense and interior ministries,” according to Al Arabiya.
Twenty kilograms, or more than 44 pounds, of explosives were also discovered during the arrests along with weapons and ammunition. Also recovered was 600,000 Saudi Riyals, the equivalent of nearly $160,000 U.S. dollars.
At least one of the cells were reportedly believed to be part of the group that blew up the Imam al-Rida Mosque in al-Ahsa back in January. That same terror cell was also linked to an attack on a military vehicle in the Saudi capital city Riyadh in February.
The large majority of the suspected terrorists are originally from Saudi Arabia, while three others are from Egypt, Yemen and Palestine. One suspect is a woman.
In May, Saudi Arabia took down another ISIS-linked cell in the city of Makkah. The investigation saw two of the five suspects killed in a firefight with security forces and two others blew themselves up, Al Arabiya reported.
In July 2015, Saudi officials apprehended 431 suspected ISIS terrorists who were planning to attack a mosque regularly attended by more than 3,000 people, CNN reported.
The latest arrests come nearly three months after three ISIS-linked terror plots were stopped in Kuwait, located just to the northeast of Saudi Arabia and south of ISIS’ strongholds in northern Iraq and western Syria.