The spy ring was made up of Saudi nationals, who used the cover of religious pilgrimages to a Holy Shiite shrine in the Iranian city of Mashhad to be trained at IRGC camps, according to the report.
Mashhad is revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza. The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid is also buried within the shrine.
A member of the spy-ring was arrested at King Fahad International Airport in Dammam as he attempted to leave the country.
Saudi security authorities revealed that he confessed that after arriving at Mashhad airport, the spy-ring members were taken to furnished apartments in the city, and for three days, were kept indoors. He alleged that IRGC officers blindfolded the men before transporting them two hours away to the training camps. There, they were housed in private quarters and were given a “special allowance”. At the camp they received training on weapons and explosives.
Convicted terrorist, Ahmed al-Mughsil, who is currently detained in Saudi Arabia after being involved in the Khobar Towers bombing of 1996 that killed 19 US soldiers and wounded 372 others, supervised their training, which lasted for two weeks. He asked them to establish a terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia once they returned to the kingdom, the report continued.
Mughsil was viewed as their leader, and they awaited his instructions to carry out bombings and assassinations. Their plan, according to the investigation, was led by Mughsil, and it included opening a tourism agency in Qatif, which could be used to send young men and women to Iran to train, as well as to turn public opinion against the Saudi Arabia and its security.
As far back as February, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed information that had been gathered and documented by the social network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside Iran. They warned that, according to detailed reports from inside the clerical regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had created a large directorate, in order to expand its training of foreign mercenaries as part of the regime’s strategy to step up its activities abroad. Mashhad Center, identified by the code 4000, was named as one of the training facilities.