Saudi Arabia Saudi authorities have arrested 701 suspected al-Qaida-linked militants in 2008, some of whom planned a car bomb attack on an oil installation, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
The kingdom has previously reported arrests of large numbers of militants, including those linked to al-Qaida, but the figure released Wednesday was the highest to date.
Al-Qaida has called for attacks against the Saudi government, criticizing its alliance with the U.S. and hoping to disrupt the flow of oil to the West. The group has also labeled the government un-Islamic, even though the kingdom follows a strict interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the reports of the arrests were an indication "a lot more" needed to be done to combat terrorism worldwide.
"It's just another indication that al-Qaida and the terrorist groups out there remain, and remain a challenge, not only for the United States and for Saudi Arabia but for the broader region and, really, for the world," said Casey.