Saudi intelligence operation foiled Qaeda plot against Haj pilgrims

December 17th, 2008 - 11:22 am ICT by ANI  

Lahore, Dec.17 (ANI): The Saudi Arabian Government last week launched a huge counter-terrorism operation to neutralize al Qaeda from carrying out a terror strike on Muslim pilgrims taking part in the Haj.
According to US and Saudi intelligence agencies, Al Qaeda planned to launch a bloody assault.
The Daily Times quoted a report in the Middle East Times as saying that over three million Muslims flocked to Mecca this year for the Haj that began on December 6.
The Saudi Arabian Government deployed 20,000 ground forces, flights of combat helicopters and a large number of armored vehicles at key locations.
US sources said technical and other surveillance was increased in and around Mecca. The site was monitored by 10,000 security cameras and Saudi agents mixed in with the pilgrims.
Communications between Saudi fast reaction and special security units was improved and capability augmented.
No four-wheel vehicles were allowed because of fears of car bombings. The pilgrims who did not have current permits were deported.
The Saudi operation began three months ago with pre-emptive raids by Saudi security forces on suspected Al Qaeda cells, according to a former senior CIA official. Several hundred suspects were taken into custody, he said.
The report quoted US officials as saying intelligence co-operation between the US and Saudi Arabia had grown by leaps and bounds from the Saudi stonewalling days of the 1996 terror attacks on Saudi Arabias Khobar Towers.
Currently teams of US Treasury Department agents along with FBI and CIA operatives and analysts are based in Riyadh and working together, the report said.
Co-ordination couldnt be better, a former senior CIA official was quoted as saying.
The report noted Saudi efforts to disperse and disrupt Al Qaeda had known no rest for the last few years. (ANI)

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