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Saudi Arabia says it has broken up four Islamic State cells

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic "Caliphate" and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday. The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has renamed itself "Islamic State" and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as "Caliph" - the head of the state, the statement said. REUTERS/Stringer (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

DUBAI, Feb 16 — Saudi Arabia has broken up four Islamic State cells suspected of providing shelter to wanted militants and recruiting fighters, the Interior Ministry said today, according to Saudi state television.

Automatic weapons were seized from the four cells, which comprised 15 Saudis, two Yemenis and a Sudanese man, the ministry’s statement said. Security forces also seized more than 2 million riyals (RM2.4 million) in cash.

Among those helped to hide by the cells, which operated in the capital Riyadh and in eastern and northern regions, was Taye’ al-Say’ari, one of two suspected Islamist militants killed in a security operation in Riyadh last month.

“Cell members were (also) active in … choosing and conducting surveillance of targets and passing information to the organisation abroad, promoting the deviant group and recruiting members for the organisation and inciting them to fight in areas of struggle,” the statement said.

Local Saudi affiliates of Islamic State, which is based in Iraq and Syria, have carried out several deadly shootings and bombings in the conservative kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter. Many have targeted security personnel and Shi’ite Muslim mosques. Saudi Arabia says it has arrested hundreds of IS members.

The Sunni Muslim Islamist group is bitterly hostile to the Gulf Arab monarchies, which suspect it of trying to stoke Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian confrontation to destabilise and ultimately topple their governments. — Reuters

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