Saudi Arabian security forces, Sunday, defused a bomb that could have claimed the lives of many citizens and residents of the capital, Riyadh, an official has said.
The security forces were able to stop operations in the preparation of explosives and detonation belts at a house on Al-Fayha Street in Riyadh, Interior Ministry spokesperson, Mansour Al-Turki, said.
He added that a Syrian man and a Filipino worker were arrested during the raid.
Mr. Al-Turki , a Major General, said security efforts and comprehensive investigations are on track the suspect’s activities, adding that the security forces seized large amounts of explosive materials and weapons at the scene.
“Important data made available for the security forces through investigations and undercover operations revealed a fully equipped factory for preparing explosives and detonation belts for carrying out attacks,” he said.
The Syrian suspect was identified as Yaser Mohammed Al-Barrazi, who entered the country in 2010. The Filipino, who was illegally residing with the Syrian suspect at the house, was identified as Joy Bali Nang, who went missing 15 months ago, according to her employer.
She is suspected to have been helping the Syrian to make explosive belts for suicide attacks in the Kingdom. The security forces suspect the house, in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, was booby trapped.
The interior ministry spokesperson said another terror suspect was taken in from a second apartment in Riyadh’s Al-Jazeera neighbourhood. The apartment, in this case, was allegedly used as a safe house by fugitives from the law.
“Given the seriousness of this information, the ministry worked carefully to set out an ambush outside the neighbourhood to arrest the assailant in order to protect the lives of residents.
“The houses in the vicinity of the first neighbourhood were evacuated and the area was cordoned off for safety reasons. Specialized teams defused the explosive material, and fully secured the site without causing any damage.
“The seized items included two live explosive belts that were defused, a gas oven connected by metal and plastic tubes attached to a set of pressure pots and a 24 laboratory flasks, 10 high containers of chemical mixtures, cotton rolls, thick fabrics, tapes, and wax pastes.
“Also seized were two sewing machines, electronic scales, welding equipment and oxygen cylinder; two detonators and shrapnel screws; two machine guns and 88 shots; two hard disk devices and three cameras,” he said.
He added that one person was arrested in the raid on the second site which had some furniture, clothing, and traces of other household necessities that made it clear that it was used as a safe haven.
Investigations are ongoing on both cases.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed two major tragedies in the past month including the stampede in Muna during the Hajj rites that led to the death of about 1000 people. Over 70 Nigerians were killed in the stampede with scores more yet to be found.