Saudis arrest 700 militants, some planned to target oil installation

Saudi authorities have arrested more than 700 suspected al-Qaida-linked militants since the beginning of the year, some of whom planned a car bomb attack on an oil installation, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. The 701 militants from various countries were arrested in multiple waves, but 181 were subsequently released because there was no proof linking them to the terror network, said a ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. The remaining 520 are still in custody, it added. Riyadh has in the past reported arrests of large numbers of militants, including those linked with al-Qaida, but the figure released Wednesday was the largest to date. Al-Qaida has called for attacks against the Saudi government in the past, criticizing its alliance with the US and hoping to disrupt the flow of oil to the West. The group has also labeled the Saudi government unIslamic, even though the kingdom follows an austere strain of Islam known as Wahhabism.