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February 07, 2003

8 Saudis arrested in January shooting

Our friends, the Saudis, have problems too. Not with militants or terrorists but with people afflicted with deviant ideas

RIYADH - Saudi authorities have arrested eight men in connection with a shooting here January 24 that left one dead and three wounded, including two police officers, the interior ministry said Friday.
"An interrogation, as well as their own statements, revealed that they were influenced by erroneous and deviant ideas," a ministry official said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The statement did not identify the suspects - all Saudis - and did not say when they had been taken into custody.

Some of the men were apprehended by security forces while others turned themselves in to police, the official said.

The shooting erupted when Saudi investigators went to an apartment complex in the Al-Nasif district of Riyadh to check the identity of four men suspected of drug trafficking, the ministry said.

The man killed was a Kuwaiti soldier on a private visit, according to Al-Riyadh newspaper.

Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed bin Abdel Aziz later said police had been looking for four people but added that authorities did not know if they had links to the al-Qaeda network operated by Osama bin Laden, accused by the United States in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A spokesman for the London-based Islamic Movement for Reform in Arabia, Saad al-Faqih, said earlier this week that recent acts of violence on Saudi territory - some of which targeted police - were the work of armed al-Qaeda sympathizers.