KONFRONTASI - US officials say they cannot confirm Saudi reports that nine Americans have been recently arrested in the Persian Gulf Arab monarchy.
Six US officials told Reuters on Sunday that their government could not confirm that any Americans were among the 33 suspected militants detained in Saudi Arabia last Monday.
The English-language daily, Saudi Gazette, citing an unnamed source, on Sunday reported that four Americans were arrested last Monday, followed by another five in the following days on terrorism charges.
Saudi authorities also nabbed 14 Saudis, three Yemenis, two Syrians, an Indonesian, a Filipino, a United Arab Emirates citizen, a Palestinian and a citizen of Kazakhstan, the report said.
However, two officials said US authorities were still checking names against databases. Saudi authorities were also investigating the citizenship of those detained, one of the officials said.
None of the US officials was authorized to speak publicly, and the US embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The website of the Interior Ministry's militant rehabilitation center listed four US citizens as having been detained on January 25 and four more over the previous three months. It did not list any more recent detentions.
The Interior Ministry spokesman directed Reuters to the website, which gives information on all people detained as militant suspects, but gave no further comment.
The latest arrests come as five people were killed on Friday in a bomb attack and shooting at a mosque in the region of al-Ahsa, in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, which has a Shia-majority population.[ptv]