Saudis seize arms at Yemen border every hour-paper [Archives:2003/662/Local News]

August 25 2003

RIYADH, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Saudi and Yemeni arms dealers regularly supply militants operating in Saudi Arabia despite efforts by both countries to fight weapons smuggling, a Saudi official said in comments published on Thursday.
Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdul-Aziz, governor of the Jizan province that borders Yemen, said Saudi border guards seize arms caches smuggled from Yemen on an hourly basis, but some weapons slip through and are sold to the militants.
“This (smuggling) is no doubt a disturbing phenomenon that threatens our security that is why we are working with the Yemeni authorities to find and destroy the smuggling ring,” Prince Mohammed told the Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat.
He said he did not have exact figures for the amount of weapons seized but added: “The border guards find an arms haul every hour of the day.”
Both Yemen and Saudi Arabia have witnessed a spate of attacks in the past year which have largely been blamed on Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
In June, the two countries agreed to cooperate closely to fight weapons smuggling as part of a widescale crackdown on terror after suicide bombings at Riyadh housing compounds killed 35 people, mostly foreigners, in May.
Yemen, bin Laden's ancestral home, has also worked closely with the United States in its “war on terror” in an bid to shed its image as a stronghold of militant groups including al Qaeda.
Earlier this week, Riyadh extradited four men to Yemen, including two suspected militants believed to be linked to last year's attack on the French supertanker Limburg.
Since the May bombings, Saudi authorities have arrested some 240 suspected militants. Washington and Riyadh blame these attacks on al Qaeda.