Saudi Arabia tries 16 suspected al Qaida members

January 8, 2012 14:14

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia has begun the trial of 16 suspected al Qaida members accused of killing a policeman and plotting attacks on government officials and military weapons facilities, Saudi media reported on Sunday.

The group is also accused of financing "terrorism" in other countries, smuggling weapons and training and sending militants to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said.

Saudi Arabia faced a militant insurgency from 2003-06 in which al Qaida members staged attacks on residential compounds for foreign workers and Saudi government facilities, killing dozens.

The authorities ended the assaults after arresting thousands of suspected militants and launching a media campaign to discredit their ideology with the backing of influential clerics and tribal leaders.

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