RealNews

Suspects In Saudi Terror Plot Include Many Teens, Prompting Worry In Kingdom

Saudi security forces unraveling an alleged plot to attack the holiest city in the Islamic world say many of the suspects were teenagers – one as young as 15, whose boyish features and hairless cheeks may have helped mask a violent assignment. The suspected Mecca plot uncovered earlier this month, coupled with May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh that killed 35 people, kick-started Saudi efforts to crack down on militant groups here. The resulting investigations show that terror groups appear to have been fishing for recruits among the vast pool of young men in the Saudi kingdom, where more than half the population of about 20 million is under 18. An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that some recruits were high school students and that the average age of al-Qaida suspects in the Riyadh attacks and Mecca plot was 20. Of 12 suspected al-Qaida militants arrested last week in the Mecca plot, six were minors, the official said. The raid on a bomb-filled, booby-trapped apartment in Mecca left five suspects and two police officers dead. The roughly 660 detainees being held in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, suspected of terrorist connections come from 42 countries. But more than 120 detainees are from Saudi Arabia alone including the youngest, a 17 year old. Al-Qaida leaders have been open about their policy of recruiting young Saudis, said an expert on militants. Full Story

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