Automatic weapons were seized from the four cells, which comprised 15 Saudis, two Yemenis and a Sudanese man, the ministry's statement said. Security forces also seized more than 2 million riyals ($530,000) in cash.
Among those helped to hide by the cells, which operated in the capital Riyadh and in eastern and northern regions, was Taye' al-Say'ari, one of two suspected Islamist militants killed in a security operation in Riyadh last month.
Local Saudi affiliates of Islamic State, which is based in Iraq and Syria, have carried out several deadly shootings and bombings in the conservative kingdom, the world's top oil exporter. Many have targeted security personnel and Shi'ite Muslim mosques. Saudi Arabia says it has arrested hundreds of IS members.
AdvertisementThe Sunni Muslim Islamist group is bitterly hostile to the Gulf Arab monarchies, which suspect it of trying to stoke Sunni-Shi'ite sectarian confrontation to destabilise and ultimately topple their governments. ($1 = 3.7504 riyals)
(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Kevin Liffey) ((Sami.Aboudi@thomsonreuters.com; +97143918301;))
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