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Saudi security forces arrest 13 for planning attacks

The kingdom's security forces also said they identified the perpetrators behind Sunday's attack on a base north of the capital, claimed by Islamic State group
One of the 13 suspects who Saudi's security forces said it arrested for planning attacks in the country

Saudi security forces arrested 13 people on Monday for planning attacks in the kingdom and also revealed the identifies of four Islamic State (IS) members behind an assault near the capital on Sunday, the state news agency reported.

The 13 individuals were "preparing to carry out criminal activities against the security of the country," security forces were quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Their arrest comes a day after after Saudi security services foiled an attack on a domestic intelligence station in Zulfi, a small city about 250km northwest of the capital Riyadh, according to a Saudi state security spokesman cited by Voice of America.

Videos circulating online, which could not be verified by Middle East Eye, appeared to show two bloodied corpses on the ground outside a silver car with its doors open. Inside the vehicle another corpse can be seen. Gunshots can be heard in one video purportedly from the scene.

According to SPA, four militants were killed and three policemen were wounded in the attack that was later claimed by IS.

On Monday, a security force statement quoted by SPA said that a venue thought to belong to the four attackers - who were all Saudi nationals - resembled "a plant for manufacturing bombs and explosive belts".

The forces, according to the statement, found five explosive vests, 64 bombs, two automatic rifles, six guns and other weapons and ingredients believed to be have been in the process of being transformed into bombs.

The kingdom has seen numerous attacks against security forces in recent years by militants, including by al-Qaeda and IS. It has also seen clashes between alleged Shia militants and security forces in the eastern provinces.

IS's elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has in recent years called for attacks on Saudi Arabia, which is part of a US-led coalition that has been battling militants in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

The group has claimed previous attacks in Saudi Arabia, targeting mostly security forces and members of the Shia community, who members view as heretics. 

About 15 percent of the kingdom's 32 million population are Shia, although no official figures exist.

On 7 April, two men armed with explosives were killed and two others arrested as they attacked a security checkpoint in a predominantly Shia region in eastern Saudi Arabia, which has seen years of demonstrations against the Sunni royal family.

Saudi's eastern province has been a site of protest and unrest for years as Saudi Shia who live in the area have called for an end to alleged discrimination against their minority sect. Saudi authorities have denied they discriminate.

Sunday's attack took place in a majority Sunni region.

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