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After WikiLeaks release, Saudis warn against sharing 'fake' files

Saudi Arabia has warned its citizens against spreading "faked" documents. The announcement came after WikiLeaks released thousands of the kingdom's diplomatic cables.

Officials in Saudi Arabia did not confirm nor deny the leaked documents' authenticity in a statement released Saturday. It came a day after WikiLeaks released more than 60,000 documents, including a number of classified reports from institutions such as the Kingdom's General Intelligence Services and the foreign department.

There were also emails between diplomats, and discussions of Saudi Arabia's position on important regional issues and efforts to influence the media. A multi-million dollar limousine bill racked up by a Saudi princess in Switzerland provided a rarely seen insight into the opulent lifestyles of the ultra-conservative kingdom.

It's believed WikiLeaks obtained the communications from a group called the Yemeni Cyber Army, which claimed responsibility for hacking into Riyadh's computer network in May this year.

The warning further advised Saudis against visiting "any website with the aim of getting a document or leaked information that could be untrue and aims to harm the nation." The statement did not name WikiLeaks.

The whistle-blower organization, which is headed by Australian national Julian Assange, describes Saudi Arabia as a "hereditary dictatorship." Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past three years fighting extradition to Sweden on alleged charges of sex crimes.

WikiLeaks has vowed to publish even more documents, including internal communications and communications with foreign diplomats. The Saudi response is the only official government response to the leak. It was not reported by local media.

Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter, and has cracked down on public dissent since the 2011 Arab uprisings. It closely monitors and controls all media outlets, and has imprisoned activists for publishing articles critical of the ruling dynasty and senior clerics.

an/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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