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Kuwait arrests suspects in mosque attack, mourns dead

Kuwait arrests suspects in mosque attack, mourns dead

Kuwait's interior ministry said owner of the vehicle arrested; is looking for the driver who vanished shortly after Friday’s blast which killed 27 and wounded 200 people .

By (Reuters)

Published: Sat 27 Jun 2015, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:07 PM

Bodies of victims of the Friday bombing are transferred to vehicles to be transported to Karbala, at Al Jafariya cemetery in Suleibikhat, Kuwait. -Reuters

Kuwait - Kuwait’s interior ministry said on Saturday it had detained amongst others the owner of a vehicle which a suicide bomber used to get to a Shia mosque where he blew himself up, killing 27 and wounding 200 people mid-prayer.

Militant group Daesh claimed responsibility for the country’s worst militant attack on Friday, one of three attacks on three continents that day apparently linked to hardline militants.

In Tunisia, a gunman killed 37 people including Western tourists on a beach, and in France a decapitated body was found after an attacker rammed his car into a gas container, triggering an explosion.

The interior ministry said it was now looking for the driver who vanished shortly after Friday’s blast in Kuwait, which has been spared the rampant violence in neighbouring Iraq and recent spate of Daesh bombings of Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia, another neighbour.

A security source said “numerous arrests” had been made in connection with Friday’s bombing, which government officials said was intended to stir enmity between Kuwait’s Sunni majority and Shia minority.

Two Iranian nationals were among those killed, foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham was quoted as saying by Iranian state media on Saturday.

Relatives of seven of those killed wept and prayed over their shrouded corpses at a mosque on Saturday, who will be buried in the Shia holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq.

A mass funeral for most of those killed will be held at Kuwait City’s Grand Mosque later on Saturday, KUNA reported. A day of national mourning has been declared.

Shias are between 15 and 30 per cent of the population of Kuwait, a mostly Sunni country where members of both communities live side by side with little apparent friction.

“We will cut the evil hand that interferes with our homeland’s security,” Interior Minister Shaikh Mohammed Al Khaled Al Sabah was quoted as saying by KUNA.

Kuwait has stepped up security to the highest level at state-run oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) and its affiliates, KUNA also reported.

Daesh named the bomber as Abu Suleiman Al Muwahed and said on social media that he had targeted a “temple of the apostates” — a term the group uses to refer to Shias, whom it regards as heretics.

Daesh had urged its followers on Tuesday to step up attacks during the Ramadan fasting month against Christians, Shias and Sunnis fighting with a US-led coalition against the ultra-hardline group.

There was no evidence Friday’s three attacks were deliberately coordinated. But coming so close together, they underscored the far-reaching, fast-growing influence of Daesh, Western politicians said.

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