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Saudi Arrests 88 in 'Anti-Terrorism' Drive

Saudi Arabia has arrested 88 suspected extremists, more than half of them ex-Qaida detainees who had previously been released, the interior ministry announced on Tuesday.

The arrests come as part of the kingdom's drive to "punish" those "belonging to or supporting" groups classified as "terrorist," the ministry added in a statement on the official SPA news agency.

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Saudi Arabia Beheads 4 Drug Traffickers

Three Syrians and an Iranian convicted of drug trafficking were executed by the sword in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the interior ministry announced.

Syrians Hamud Hassoun, Hassan Musalamani and Yussef al-Halqi were all arrested with a "large amount of banned amphetamine pills", said three separate statements on the official SPA news agency.

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Report: Al-Mashnouq a 'Guest of Honor' at GCC Ministers Meeting

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq has been invited to the Gulf Cooperation Council's interior ministers' meeting scheduled to be held in Doha next week, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Al-Mashnouq will be the “guest of honor” in the meeting that would also be attended by five cabinet ministers from the GCC countries, the daily said.

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Report: Beirut a Possible Stop in Ban's Regional Tour

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon could include Lebanon in his tour to the region to discuss with Lebanese officials the situation in the country, An Nahar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The daily said, however, that the issue hasn't been settled yet.

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France and Saudis 'Finalizing' $3bn Arms Deal, Hollande Says Lebanon is 'Vulnerable'

France and Saudi Arabia are close to signing a $3 billion arms deal for Lebanon, the Elysee Palace said Monday following talks between President Francois Hollande and the Saudi crown prince.

"It will not be signed Monday but it is being finalized," an aide to the president said.

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Saudi Court Upholds 10-Year Term for Rights Activist

A Saudi court on Monday upheld a 10-year jail sentence and 1,000 lashes against Raef Badawi, founder of a liberal human rights group, for insulting Islam, an activist said.

He had been convicted of "creating a website insulting Islam" and criticizing the role of the notorious religious police "which we all do" in Saudi Arabia, the rights group's co-founder, Suad al-Shamari, told Agence France-Presse.

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Saudi Crown Prince in Paris for Talks on Arms, Jihadist Threat

Saudi Arabia's crown prince arrived in Paris Monday for talks with President Francois Hollande likely to touch on a Saudi-financed French package of arms for Lebanon and the wider jihadist threat in the region.

Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also deputy prime minister and defense minister, will meet Hollande on Monday and will be treated to an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace.

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Saudi Religious Police Beat Up Briton

Members of Saudi Arabia's religious police roughed up a British resident of Riyadh after they caught him paying at a women-only cash desk, local media reported on Monday.

Saudi Arabia imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic laws, notably a segregation of the sexes.

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Mashnouq in Moscow this Month as Qahwaji Sets Stage for Activation of Russian Military Grant

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq is expected to visit Moscow on September 18 to sign a deal to buy military equipment for the Internal Security Forces, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Monday.

Lebanon will buy the equipment from a recently announced $1 billion Saudi grant to Lebanon, it said.

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Gulf Monarchies Resolve Spat with Qatar, Say Ready to Help Counter Jihadists

Gulf Arab monarchies said Saturday they were ready to help counter advances by jihadists in Syria and Iraq, after the U.S. called for a global coalition to fight the militants.

But the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said it was awaiting details from Washington and a visit to the region by U.S. Secretary of State Department John Kerry to discuss anti-jihadist cooperation.

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