Saudi Arabia foils 'car bomb plot targeting World Cup qualifier'

A second cell was reportedly plotting to attack security services in Shaqra, northwest of the capital Riyadh

Saudi Arabia foils 'car bomb plot targeting World Cup qualifier'

File photo. Image: Hasan Sarbakhshian AP/Press Association Images

A car bomb plot targeting a World Cup qualifying match has been foiled, according to authorities in Saudi Arabia.

Eight suspected militants from two terror cells said to have links to Islamic State have been arrested.

There were two alleged plots - the first targeting the 11 October match between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

The country's interior ministry said two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese were planning the attack at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.

The qualifying match for World Cup 2018 ended 3-0 to the hosts.

A second cell - all Saudis - was plotting to attack security services in Shaqra, northwest of the capital Riyadh, and had allegedly received orders from an IS leader in Syria.

The terror group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has called for attacks in Saudi Arabia following the country's involvement in the US-led coalition that is bombing IS in Syria and Iraq.

Saudi authorities have arrested hundreds of people associated with the group and there have been several deadly attacks.

Three suicide bombs on 4 July, including one that killed four people near the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, led to the arrests of 19 people.

Today's interior ministry statement also offered a reward over eight Saudis and a Bahraini accused of "terrorist" acts in the eastern Dammam and Qatif provinces.

The provinces are home to much of the kingdom's Muslim Shia minority, which has been pushing for reforms in the Sunni-dominated kingdom.