Officials: Saudi Arabia Arrests ISIS Militants Plotting Attack Against US Embassy

AP Photo/Nasser Nasser
AP Photo/Nasser Nasser
Washington, D.C.

Saudi officials have announced the arrest of 93 jihadists on suspicion of having ties to the Islamic State terror group.

Riyadh officials said Tuesday that the militants were planning on carrying out attacks against U.S. installations, including an embassy, housing units, and individual American officials. The sweep included two people who had planned a suicide attack against the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, the Saudi interior ministry stated.

The group of suspected Islamic State militants includes at least 77 Saudi citizens, Riyadh’s interior ministry said in a statement reported by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The interior ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Saudi officials wanted to “make citizens and residents aware of what those with misguided ideology have planned to target this holy land.” The statement added that “security forces will stand firm against anyone who is persuaded to disrupt the stability and security of the country.”

U.S. intelligence officials confirmed with ABC News that the Saudis had taken down “the cells,” and that there was a “legitimate plot” against the U.S. embassy in Riyadh.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, Saudi forces arrested an ISIS-linked individual believed to have carried out a drive-by attack that killed two police officers in Riyadh in early April, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Saudi Arabia is part of the coalition of countries that have agreed to dedicate resources towards the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State. The jihadi group’s propaganda videos frequently call for militants to conduct attacks against Saudi Arabia, and within its territory.

The United States has backed a Saudi-led effort in Yemen which seeks to reinstall Sanaa’s internationally recognized President, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, back into power. Hadi is in Riyadh in temporary exile as the Saudi-led coalition battles Iran-backed Houthi militants for control over Yemen. Both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have sought to take advantage of the ongoing hostilities and increase their foothold in the country as battles rage between the two sides.