RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia said early Tuesday it had broken up an Islamic State group plot to have suicide bombers attack Defense Ministry offices, while separately dismantling an alleged spy ring in the kingdom.
The dual announcements made by the state-run Saudi Press Agency show the security challenges facing the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom as it fights a yearslong war in Yemen and remains embroiled in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar with other Arab nations.
The Islamic State plot targeted two headquarters of the Defense Ministry in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, a statement said. Security forces arrested two Yemeni men it said would have been the bombers, as well as two Saudi nationals.
Saudi state television aired images of what it described as suicide bomb belts, as well as homemade grenades seized by authorities. Officials also seized firearms and other weapons, as well as a home used by the plotters in a Riyadh neighborhood, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Saudi Arabia battled an al-Qaida insurgency for years and more recently has faced attacks from a local branch of the Islamic State group.
Separately, the Saudi Press Agency announced the spy ring arrest, but in vaguer terms. It described the cell as made up of "Saudis and foreigners" who wanted to "stir up sedition and prejudice national unity." It said they worked for "the benefit of foreign parties against the security of the kingdom and its interests."