Kuwait makes arrests over Shia mosque attack

Bombing killed 27 and wounded over 200 in country’s worst terrorist incident in years

Medics and security forces gather inside Imam Sadiq mosque following a suicide bombing in al-Sawaber, Kuwait City. Photograph: Raed Qutena/EPA

Medics and security forces gather inside Imam Sadiq mosque following a suicide bombing in al-Sawaber, Kuwait City. Photograph: Raed Qutena/EPA

 

Kuwait has arrested several people on suspicion of involvement in the bombing of a Shia Muslim mosque on Friday that killed 27 people, a security source said on Saturday as the Gulf state marked a day of national mourning and prepared a mass funeral.

Militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, which was the country’s worst militant attack in years and according to the interior ministry also wounded more than 200.

“Numerous arrests of [people] . . . suspected of having ties with the suicide bomber have been made,” said the source.

Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas said state security had arrested three people suspected of being involved.

Government officials said the bombing was intended to stir enmity between the Sunni majority and the Shia minority, an aim Saudi officials have also ascribed to Islamic State bombings of Shia mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia in past weeks.

Side by side

Shias comprise between 15 and 30 per cent of the population of Kuwait, a predominantly Sunni Gulf Arab state 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 Sheikh Mohammed al-Khalid al-Sabah was quoted as saying by the KUNA official news agency .

Parliament member Khalil al-Salih was at the Imam al-Sadiq mosque in the al-Sawaber district in the eastern part of the Kuwaiti capital when Friday’s attack occurred.

He said worshippers were kneeling in prayer when the bomber walked in and detonated his explosives, destroying walls and the ceiling.

A mass funeral is to be held at Kuwait City’s Grand Mosque on Saturday, KUNA reported. A day of national mourning has been declared.

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

Reuters