London: 18 persons, including an Iranian, a Lebanese and 16 Saudi nationals, have been arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities on the charges of spying, according to official sources.
Interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said that the 18 suspects had been involved in spying for a state, although he did not name the country thought to be running the spy network, the BBC reports.
Turki further said that the suspects were gathering information about installations and vital areas in the country and providing the collected data to the intelligence agencies of that state.
According to Turki, the arrests were made in co-ordinated and simultaneous operations in the capital city of Riyadh, the holy city of Mecca and in the Eastern Province of the kingdom, which has the highest concentration of the kingdom`s Shia Muslim minority.
Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, has recently repeatedly found itself at odds with Iran, an overwhelmingly Shia Muslim nation.
Tensions deepened last year when Saudi Arabia deployed troops to the Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain to help crush a Shia-led uprising there, the report added.