RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Sunday it broke up two militant plots in recent weeks, one with Islamic State militants trying to kill police officers and the second involving parking a car bomb at a soccer match with the United Arab Emirates.
The two disrupted plots announced by the Interior Ministry come as the Sunni-ruled kingdom grapples with a local Islamic State affiliate, as well as unrest in its predominantly Shiite east.
The first plot aimed to kill police officers by a group in Saudi Arabia's central Shaqraa province, the country's Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It said four Saudis who received instructions from an Islamic State leader in Syria were arrested before they could carry out the plan.
The second plot involved a group of militants who hoped to plant a car bomb at the soccer match between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a stadium in Jiddah. It said two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese national were arrested Oct. 10, the day before a FIFA fixture between the two sides was to be played.
It wasn't immediately clear if the second plot involved the Islamic State group as well. The Interior Ministry did not say whether those arrested had lawyers.
Separately, the Interior Ministry identified eight Saudis and one Bahraini it wanted for attacks on security forces and sabotage in the kingdom's east. The area has seen a series of shootings targeting police in the wake of the kingdom's January execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.
The militant threat in the kingdom is the most serious it has faced an al-Qaida insurgency over a decade ago.
Associated Press writers Maamoun Youssef in Cairo and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.