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Saudi Leader Warns Against Backing Terrorists

August 15, 2003|From Times Wire Services

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Crown Prince Abdullah said Thursday that his kingdom is engaged in a "decisive battle" against violent extremists and warned people not to back them.

"In the decisive battle between powers of good and powers of evil, there is no room for neutrality or hesitancy .... He who protects or sympathizes with a terrorist is himself a terrorist and will receive his just punishment," the kingdom's de facto ruler said in remarks carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Abdullah's comments came a day after the U.S. State Department updated its warning of the potential for further terrorist attacks on civilians in Saudi Arabia and urged Americans to exercise extra caution in the Persian Gulf region.

Also on Wednesday, British Airways canceled flights to Saudi Arabia due to heightened security concerns.

The government has been cracking down on Islamic militants since May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh, the capital, killed 26 people and nine attackers.

More than 200 suspects have been arrested and more than a dozen killed in a series of high-profile police raids since then.

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