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Pakistanis among several arrested in Saudi plotting attacks

Riyadh: Saudi Arabian authorities have foiled two terror plots and arrested several suspects, including two Pakistanis, who were plotting to detonate a car loaded with explosives near an iconic football stadium in Jeddah, media reports said today.

The Interior Ministry announced that it foiled two terror plots: One targeting police officers and the other a plan to detonate a car loaded with explosives near the Al-Jawhara Football Stadium in Jeddah three weeks ago.

Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Al-Turki said yesterday that they received credible information of the plot to target a football match between Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, only days before the game was due to be played.

Two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese were arrested in this connection.

The two Pakistanis were identified as Sulaiman Arabdeen, Farmanullah Naqshband Khan, Saudi Gazette newspaper reported.

Saudi authorities said that the stadium at the King Abdullah Sports City is one of the crowning sporting achievements of the kingdom.

Built on an area of 3 million square meters at a cost of around Saudi Riyal two billion, it has parking space for 20,000 vehicles.

One official said that an operational middleman in Syria identified the target to the cell members, giving them the type of car they would use – a vehicle with a capacity to carry an estimated 400kg of explosives.

They had two options: Target the stands during the game which would have resulted in a partial structural collapse and the number of victims would have been higher, or to carry out the blast while spectators were exiting the stadium.

The blast’s impact would have been felt up to 1,100 meters away, covering almost 800,000 square meters, Arab News newspaper reported.