JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia announced its first al-Qaida-related arrests since Sept. 11 and said Tuesday that it was holding 11 Saudis, an Iraqi and a Sudanese man who told authorities he had fired a surface-to-air missile at a U.S. military plane taking off from a Saudi air base.
The arrests were announced by the official Saudi Press Agency, which linked the suspects to Osama bin Laden's network and said they were planning to use explosives and missiles in other terrorist attacks in the kingdom.
The agency provided only sketchy details, and it was not clear when or where the suspects were arrested. But it was the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States that the Gulf state has announced arrests linked to bin Laden, the Saudi dissident whose first cause was the overthrow of this Muslim kingdom.
The Saudi agency said the alleged plotters were targeting a number of "vital" installations and were planning to use explosives and surface-to-air missiles.
Among those being held was a Sudanese man who apparently fled the kingdom with the help of five of the Saudis in custody and the Iraqi. The agency said the Sudanese man was directly connected with al-Qaida and had fought with the group in Afghanistan.
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