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U.S. Praises Saudi Terror Arrests


The United States has praised Saudi Arabia's roundup of 172 suspected militants the kingdom says were plotting terrorist attacks against oil installations and military bases.

U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Friday in Washington that the arrests demonstrate Saudi Arabia's strength and commitment to the war on terror.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said Friday the arrests foiled major terrorist operations - including the use of aircraft to carry out attacks. Ministry officials referred to the suspects as members of the "deviant group," an apparent reference to al-Qaida.

Saudi officials said the suspects belonged to seven terrorist cells. Officials also said large numbers of weapons and more than five million dollars in cash were seized.

Oil prices rose after the arrests were announced. The price of crude oil climbed one dollar and 40 cents during the day Friday in New York to more than 66 dollars per barrel.

The al-Qaida branch in Saudi Arabia has vowed to attack oil installations in Saudi Arabia and in other countries that supply oil to the United States.

Suspected al-Qaida militants launched dramatic attacks against Westerners in Saudi Arabia in 2003.

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