Interior Ministry launches major anti-terror exercise

The Ministry of Interior launches a massive 21-day exercise to counter terrorism and smuggling this week.

The Ministry of Interior launches a massive 21-day exercise to counter terrorism and smuggling this week.

The Saudi government plans to hold a major exercise to sharpen the readiness of its internal security forces in the face of increased terror attacks and the smuggling of drugs and other contraband into the country.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, will oversee the 21-day event, which will be held in the Northern Province starting Wednesday.

Over 1,500 soldiers and security personnel will take part, from the Border Guard, Special Security Forces, Public Security (special emergency forces and security patrols), Premises Security Forces, Aviation Security, Civil Defense, Command and Control Center of the interior ministry, Supreme Commission for Industrial Security, and the Customs Department.

A ministry spokesman said the main aim of the exercise is to improve the readiness of the country’s security agencies to counter attacks by extremist and terrorist organizations.

The exercises would include a focus on the use of state-of-the-art technology. Personnel would also be checked for fitness levels. The drills include raids on hideouts of terror groups, rescuing civilians during fights between security forces and terrorists, treating the injured and firefighting.

In January, armed men attacked a Border Guard patrol near Saudi Arabia’s frontier with Iraq, killing two guards and wounding a third. Four of the attackers, all Saudi members of the Islamic State group trying to cross back into the Kingdom, were killed.

In February, Border Guard patrols in Asir region foiled several smuggling operations. These included the attempt by 3,200 illegal expatriates to cross into the Kingdom, the capture of 8,277 weapons, 376 miscellaneous weapons and 158 guns, and the confiscation of 561 kg of hashish and 1,152 kg of tobacco and qat.

Commander of the Border Guard in Asir, Safer bin Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, said that the agency has patrols operating around the clock to protect the country’s borders.

Meanwhile, the Border Guard in Jazan seized 847 weapons, 78,079 rounds of ammunition, 238,035 narcotic pills, 187,513 kg of qat, 2,240 kg of hashish, 489 kg of food, 7,135 kg of snuff, 3,453 pieces of fireworks, SR228,946 in cash, and 2,243 head of livestock over a four-month period.

The ministry also deported more than 700,000 foreigners for violating work and residence laws and foiled over 290,000 attempts by infiltrators to cross into the Kingdom illegally, according to media reports.


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