UAE Arrests Terrorist Cell Linked To Al-Qaeda

al qaeda

Security authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have arrested a terrorist cell affiliated to Al Qaeda which includes seven people of Arab nationalities who were planning attacks on the Gulf oil and business hub, the second time this year authorities have alleged a concrete threat from the group.

An official source said that the cell was planning to carry out acts within the UAE affecting the security of the state and the safety of its citizens and residents.

The UAE, an important military, counter-terrorism and business partner of the West, said on Thursday that the seven were Arab nationals who had been helping al-Qaeda with recruitment, financing and logistical support.

“The cell was planning actions to target the country’s security and the safety of its citizens and residents, and was carrying out recruitment, and promoting the actions of al-Qaeda,” The official Emirates news agency WAM said.

“It was also supplying it [al-Qaeda] with money and providing logistical support and seeking to expand its activities to some [other] countries in the region,” WAM said.

The UAE, an important military, counter-terrorism and business partner of the West, said on Thursday that the seven were Arab nationals who had been helping al-Qaeda with recruitment, financing and logistical support.

“The cell was planning actions to target the country’s security and the safety of its citizens and residents, and was carrying out recruitment, and promoting the actions of al-Qaeda,” The official Emirates news agency WAM said.

“It was also supplying it [Al-Qaeda] with money and providing logistical support and seeking to expand its activities to some [other] countries in the region,” WAM said.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has been spared an attack by Al-Qaeda and other armed groups; some analysts say the groups find it too useful as a communications and financial hub.

In December however, the UAE said it had arrested a cell of Emirati and Saudi Arabian members of a “deviant group” that was planning to carry out militant attacks in both countries and other states. The term “deviant group” is often used by authorities in Saudi Arabia to describe Al-Qaeda members.

Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan told a local newspaper in January that some of the group had links to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which uses Yemen as a base for international operations.

Some of the emirates have seen a rise in support for political Islam in recent years, and in the past year the federal government has started to crack down on alleged sympathisers of groups such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

“In the UAE’s case, there have been some accusations that some members, who could be Egyptian, are tied with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Joseph Kechichian, a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, told Al Jazeera.

“What is interesting in this case is that the authorities in Abu Dhabi felt comfortable enough with the eminence presumably they’ve gathered to make the link with Al-Qaeda, no matter how amorphous that is.”

A source said that the State Security Prosecution will start investigation of the accused. Once these procedures are completed, they will be brought to trial.

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