The Saudi interior ministry on Saturday said 47 people convicted of plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks, targeting civilians and security forces, were executed.

The ministry statement, published on the official SPA news agency, said the 47 had been convicted of adopting the radical "takfiri" ideology, joining "terrorist organizations" and implementing various "criminal plots."

Most of those executed were involved in a series of attacks carried out by al-Qaeda from 2003-06 that killed Saudis and foreigners in the kingdom, the interior ministry statement added.

45 of those executed were of Saudi nationality, alongside one Chadian and one Egyptian, according to a list of names and nationalities published by the Saudi Press Agency. The 47 men were based across 12 regions in the kingdom, the interior ministry statement added.

They were convicted of plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks targeting civilians and security forces in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries.

Prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was among those executed, the ministry said.

The Interior Ministry statement began with verses from the Quran and state television showed footage of the aftermath of al-Qaeda attacks in the last decade that killed hundreds.

Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh appeared on television soon after to describe the executions as just.

The simultaneous execution of 47 people on security grounds was the biggest mass execution for such offences in Saudi Arabia since the 1980 killing of 63 militants who seized Makkah's Grand Mosque in 1979.

Saudi Arabia in 2015 suffered a series of further bombing and shooting attacks by militants sympathetic to ISIS. Those attacks killed dozens, increasing pressure on Riyadh to show it was taking strong action.

Courtesy Al Arabiya