DAMMAM — As many as 2,093 Saudis are fighting abroad alongside terror outfits, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki was quoted as saying by Al-Hayat newspaper on Monday.
He said 73 Saudis are in detention abroad on terror charges.
About 1,540 Saudis (70 percent) are fighting in Syria alongside terror networks active there, said Turki, adding that the ministry has evidence confirming these numbers.
He said 147 Saudis are fighting in Yemen, 31 in Afghanistan and Pakistan and five in Iraq.
“We have no credible data about the exact whereabouts of 297 other Saudi terrorists,” he added.
According to initial figures of the Interior Ministry, there are more than 4,000 Saudis in intelligence prisons in the Kingdom awaiting trial on terrorism charges.
Security forces have carried out a number of preemptive raids during which they foiled the plots of a number of terror operations and held a number of suspects.
According to the security data, the number of Saudis joining terrorist organizations is receding.
According to Abdul Moneim Al-Mushawah, chairman of Al-Sakeena (serenity) campaign of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, the number of Saudis fighting alongside Daesh (the so-called IS) is much less than many people believe.
He said the Saudis in the Daesh terror group are outnumbered by fighters from Morocco, Tunisia, Europe and other countries.
Mushawah believes the Saudis are not influential in the Daesh group as they are not leaders or planners.
He said the number of Saudis in the Daesh group has been deliberately exaggerated so as to smear the image of the country and its people.
Security sources believe that Daesh has lost a large number of its supporters among Saudi citizens.
The sources said Daesh used a number of young Saudis in its suicidal operations.