updated 8/19/2009 10:56:53 AM ET 2009-08-19T14:56:53

The Saudi Interior Ministry says authorities have arrested 44 suspected militants who sought to recruit youths and finance their "deviant activities" through charitable donations.

In a statement carried Wednesday by the official Saudi Press Agency, the ministry says the 44 were arrested in a campaign that began July 9 and ended Aug. 2.

It says some of those arrested have received training on the use of light and heavy weapons in the kingdom and abroad. It says all but one are Saudi.

Saudi Arabia has pursued an aggressive campaign against militants since May 2003, when they first began attacks in the kingdom.

Last week, New York-based international organization Human Rights Watch issued a report criticising the country for detaining terror suspects without charges as part of its anti-terrorism drive.

The country is the birthplace of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and home to 15 of the 19th Sept. 11 hijackers.

More on: Saudi Arabia

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