The Ministry of Interior has announced that security forces have arrested five members of a gang in connection with a murder and several armed robberies in Jeddah over a two-month period last year. All five are of Chadian nationality, and are suspected of perpetrating the crimes in order to finance their Al-Qaeda cell.
Three of the five are convicted of shooting and killing French resident Laurent Barbot in Jeddah on September 25, 2004; in this incident, they had used false papers to rent a car. The same three had robbed the Jeddah office of British Airways on August 25, threatening seven employees with machine guns. It is believed that the gang’s activities began on August 9, when three of them stole money and prepaid phone cards from a supermarket in Jeddah; they robbed another supermarket on August 26. Two days later, one of them shot at a resident near a bank in Jeddah, but no injuries resulted.
[See related Press Release]