Kuwait says in `state of war' with militants, more detained

Kuwait says in `state of war with militants, more detained

Reports said Kuwaiti authorities have detained 60 people in connection with the bombing and closed a charity for alleged militant ties in raising funds for Syrians.



By (Reuters)

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2015, 9:27 PM

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

Members of the Kuwaiti national assembly wear their national flag around their shoulders in a show of solidarity and condemnation of the suicide attack at the mosque. -AFP

Kuwait - Kuwait’s interior minister said on Tuesday the Gulf Arab country was at war with militants and would strike out at cells believed to be on its soil.

The ultra-radical Daesh group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Friday on a Shia mosque in Kuwait City which killed 27 worshippers, the worst attack of its kind in the major oil-exporting state.

Kuwaiti authorities have detained 60 people in connection with the bombing and closed a charity for alleged militant ties in raising funds for Syrians, local newspapers said on Tuesday.

“We are in a state of war. It’s a war that had been decided with this cell. But there are other cells, and we will not wait for them to try their luck with us,” Interior Minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Khaled Al Sabah told parliament.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas reported on Tuesday that five people arrested for suspected involvement in the attack had been referred to the public prosecutor. The five, it said, had confessed to receiving financial transfers from abroad to carry out attacks targeting houses of worship.

The cell had considered two other possible targets before deciding on the Imam Sadiq Mosque, Al Sabah said.

Kuwait has stepped up security after the bomber, a Saudi citizen named Fahd Suliman Abdul Muhsen Al Qabaa, flew in from the Kingdom hours before detonating himself.

In a posthumous audio message stamped with Daesh’s logo and posted online, Al Qabaa called Shias “enemies of God everywhere, especially in Kuwait.”

Kuwaiti officials said the attack was aimed at stirring up sectarian strife in the state.

Relations have traditionally been good between the 70 per cent of Kuwait’s 1.4 million citizens who are Sunni and the Shias who comprise 30 per cent.

REGION ON EDGE

The bombing has sharply heightened regional security concerns because Daesh appeared to be making good on its threat to step up attacks in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

On the same day as the mosque bombing, a gunman killed 39 people, mostly British tourists, in Tunisia.

Since the suicide bombing, plainclothes officers have carried out arrest raids on the homes of five people for possession of illegal weapons, the state news agency KUNA said.

Al Qabas newspaper quoted security sources as saying that 60 people, including Kuwaiti citizens and nationals of other Gulf states, in all were being held for investigation.

Some had been found to have been in contact with the militants while others were suspected of belonging to “extremist” groups, Al Qabas reported, without elaborating.

The newspaper did not name them but Kuwait’s interior ministry has said it had detained the driver of the vehicle that took Qabaa to the mosque, the owner of the car and the owner of the house where the driver went to hide after the attack.

Kuwaiti authorities were not immediately available for comment on the Al Qabas report.

Al Rai, another Arabic-language newspaper, said the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs permanently closed down the Fahd Al Ahmed charity on Sunday due to “repeated violations despite the warnings” that funds for Syrians be collected through official channels. Charity representatives were not immediately available for comment.

US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen has described Kuwait as “the epicentre of fund-raising for terrorist groups in Syria”.


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