Saudi Arabia has broken up four ISIL-linked cells suspected of providing shelter and funds to wanted fighters, and recruiting fighters, according to local news media reports citing the interior ministry.
Automatic weapons were seized from the four cells, which comprised 15 Saudis, two Yemenis and a Sudanese man, the Saudi Press Agency quoted the ministry as saying on Thursday.
Security forces also seized more than $500,000 in cash, the reports said.
The crackdown, which began on Saturday, targeted ISIL cells that had been operating in the regions of Mecca, Medina, Qassim and the capital Riyadh, according to Manour al-Turki, the Saudi interior miinistry spokesperson.
Among those helped to hide by the cells was Taye al-Say’ari, one of two suspected fighters 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 ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, which is based in Iraq and Syria, have carried out several deadly shootings and bombings in the kingdom.
Many have targeted security personnel and Shia mosques.
Saudi Arabia says it has arrested hundreds of ISIL members.
ISIL is bitterly hostile to the Arab Gulf Arab governments, which suspect it of trying to stoke Sunni-Shia sectarian confrontation to destabilise and ultimately topple their governments.
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Source: News agencies