Saudi authorities have foiled four attacks allegedly planned by three terrorist cells linked to the Islamic State extremist group, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
A total of 17 suspects were arrested in a security crackdown, all Saudi nationals except for one Yemeni, one Egyptian and one Palestinian, Interior Ministry official spokesman General Mansour Turki said. It was not immediately clear when the arrests were made.
The suspected terrorists had planned to target Islamic scholars, security personnel, citizens and military and economic sites with explosive belts and weapons, according to Turki.
The terrorist cells were also offering logistical support to wanted persons, smuggling them into the country and hiding them, according to the ministry.
The attacks were largely designed to target eastern Saudi Arabia's Shiite Muslim minority, which Islamic State regards as heretics.
Saudi Arabia has recently witnessed a wave of terrorist attacks, mostly against the Shiite Muslim minority.
Last week, a police patrol car came under fire from unknown gunmen in the eastern city of Damam. Two policemen were killed in the attack.
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