Iranian officials have arrested five people in the southern province of Kerman and charged them with having links to Al-Qaeda.

The Fars news agency reports that Commander Hossein Chenarian, the head of Kerman’s security forces, announced the arrest of five “Al-Qaeda elements” as they were trying to bring large amounts of weapons, ammunition and explosives into the country.

Further investigation led to the the discovery of weapons, ammunition and explosives in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, he said.

Last February, Islamic Republic authorities announced the arrest of nine “Al-Qaeda operatives” in the northwestern Iranian city of Sardasht. IRNA reported at the time that the nine detainees were “Wahhabis who intended to create divisions among the Shiites and the Sunnis in Iran.”

For the last 50 years, Wahhabism has been the branch of Islam followed by the Saudi monarchy, and Wahhabis in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan are said to comprise the core of Al-Qaeda forces.

Kerman’s security chief maintained: “The detained foreign nationals are linked to Al-Qaeda and are citizens of our western neighbours.”