“Secret organization” planning to overthrow Saudi regime in collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies foiled

Organization chief hosted leaders of Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Saudi authorities release 46 persons who renounced Al-Qaeda ideologies

Saudi security forces have dismantled an Al-Qaeda-linked cell of 16 people plotting to overthrow the regime, Asharq Alawsat daily reported on Wednesday.

The "secret organization" aimed to "gain power with the aid of foreign intelligence services," the London-based daily quoted a spokesman for the justice ministry as saying.

According to the spokesman, Abdullah al-Saadan, the group had contacts with Al-Qaeda in Iraq. A number of its members were detained during a February 2007 meeting in the western port city of Jeddah, he said.

The group, which called itself the "project of the generation," also engaged in collecting funds under the guise of charitable activities, which were in fact destined for "suspicious foreign parties," Saadan said.

Legal action is being pursued against the group's members.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has released 46 extremists in July after attending counseling sessions funded and supervised by a center affiliated to the interior ministry, the official news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

The SPA said the 46 were the 22nd group to be released after attending counseling sessions at the Prince Muhammad bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care.

Of the 46, nine have been given admission to school and university.

The Saudi security forces have ratcheted up their efforts against al-Qaeda militants.

As part of its painstaking efforts to fight terrorism, the interior ministry has established the center to wean away militants or al-Qaeda-leaning individuals from deviant ideology and bring them to the social mainstream.

Manned by Muslim preachers, psychiatrist, sociologists and psychologists, the center started the counseling session six years ago.