Saudi Arabia arrests 45 suspects in mosque bombing case

The arrests come after the government declared a reward for helping nab the suspects in the mosque bombing case and for providing information about future attacks.



Saudi Arabia has detained about 45 people who are alleged to have a connection to the recent suicide bombings and an attack on a policeman in Riyadh.

According to a report in local newspaper Arab News, the arrests occurred over the last three days.

Last week, the authorities released a list of 16 men who were reportedly involved in planning and carrying out the two suicide attacks on Shi’ite mosques.

However the kingdom’s interior ministry clarified that none of those arrested were among 16 suspects in the recently publicized list.

The detentions also come as the kingdom announced a reward of SAR 5 million ($1.3 million) for more information leading to the arrests of these suspects and a stern punishment warning to those found dealing with these men.

In addition, the ministry offered a reward of SAR 7 million for tips that might help thwart future attacks.

Hardline Islamist group ISIL has claimed the responsibility for both the incidents that killed more than 25 people. Following that, the group has also publicly claimed that it wants to drive out all Shi’ites from the Arabian Peninsula and urged all young men to join its cause.

Saudi Arabia has been battling a wave of radicalism among its citizens who have been influenced by fundamentalist groups such as ISIL.

In order to stem the rise of ISIL, the government has also periodically arrested residents who were suspected of being involved with it and detained those citizens who returned from fighting abroad.

But despite outlawing the group, ISIL’s edicts have managed to fuel sectarian tensions among the majority Sunnis and minority Shi’ites.

Animosity towards Saudi Arabia’s minority Shi’ites has also exacerbated as the conflict in Yemen has worsened, where Saudi is fighting Iran-backed Houthi militias.

The mosque attacks were preceded by a shootout in November 2014 where ISIL sympathisers gunned down eight people in a Shi’a village in Al Ahsa region.

Saudi Arabia’s top leaders have publicly denounced such attacks but Shi’ites in the country complain that they are not doing enough to dispel the hatred between the two sects.

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