UAE: Arrests made in suspected al-Qaida cell

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates said Thursday that authorities have arrested seven suspected members of terrorist cell linked to al-Qaida that allegedly planned to carry out operations in the country and the region.

Few details were disclosed about the alleged network, but it reflects growing claims by the UAE and other Gulf nations that militant groups are seeking to battle the region’s Western-backed rulers after the Arab Spring.

The UAE is currently holding a mass trial for 94 suspected coup plotters with alleged links to an Islamist group and the Muslim Brotherhood, which now governs Egypt.

The statement, carried by the official WAM news agency, said the latest arrests comprise seven suspects of “Arab nationalities,” but gave no further details. The report said officials believe the cell was planning to carry out acts “affecting the security” of the country and recruit others for wider attacks around the region.

Other Gulf nations have announced arrests linked to suspected anti-state networks, but have given few specifics.

Last month, Saudi Arabia said it uncovered an alleged Iran-linked espionage ring. Bahrain has repeatedly claimed that Iran and proxy groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have ties to Shiite protesters waging an Arab Spring-inspired uprising that began in early 2011.

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