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Saudi Arabia arrests 170 for planned hijackings

MOSCOW, April 27 (RIA Novosti) - Saudi police arrested over 170 people suspected of preparing a series of hijackings and terrorist attacks in and outside the country, the Interior Ministry and the al-Jazeera television station said Friday.

Most of those detained in the largest counterterrorism operation are Saudi citizens, the ministry said. Special services, which seized over $5 million in cash and a large cache of firearms, said the gunmen were planning to reinforce their ranks by taking over a prison and freeing the inmates.

Saudi television quoted the ministry as saying that some suspects had undergone pilot training abroad in order to carry out operations against various facilities in Saudi Arabia, including the country's oil infrastructure and military bases.

In the past four years, Saudi security forces have stepped up efforts to break up cells of the al-Qaeda global terrorist network in their country. Western experts said Saudi security forces had detained or killed most al-Qaeda members in the kingdom, including senior masterminds.

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