Kuwait busts three Islamic State cells plotting attacks: Ministry

Suspects confessed to plotting attacks against Shia mosque, interior ministry

Kuwaiti security authorities broke up three Islamic State (IS) group cells plotting attacks in the oil-rich Gulf state, the interior ministry said on Monday.

Five Kuwaiti nationals were arrested, including a policeman and a woman, who all confessed to plotting attacks against a Shia mosque and an interior ministry target, the ministry said in a statement.

All members of the three cells also confessed to being members of the Islamic State militant group.

Shias comprise between 15 and 30 percent of the predominantly Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab state, where members of both communities are known to live side by side with little apparent friction, according to Channel News Asia.

Kuwait National Petroleum Co told Channel News Asia it would reinforce security measures at oil installations in coordination with the country’s interior ministry.

The OPEC member pumps 3 million barrels of crude a day and has three refineries with a combined capacity of 930,000 bpd.

Kuwaiti police are still looking for a Gulf man and an Asian who assisted one of the cells, the ministry said.

The action against the militants comes a year after an IS-linked Saudi suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shia mosque, killing 26 worshippers in the worst attack in Kuwait.

A court sentenced one man to death and jailed eight others for assisting the Saudi bomber.

Among those arrested in the latest police action was 18-year-old Talal Raja, who confessed to plotting a suicide attack against a Shia mosque and an interior ministry installation by the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on Tuesday, the ministry said.

The second cell consisted of a mother and son who were arrested in Syria in IS-controlled Riga and brought back to Kuwait, the ministry said. It provided no details of how they were arrested.

The 28-year-old son had cut short his petroleum engineering study in Britain to join IS after his younger brother was killed while fighting for the group in Iraq, the ministry said.

The third cell was comprised of two Kuwaitis, one of them a policeman, who were seized along with two Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition. The pair confessed to plotting attacks in the country, the ministry said.

In November last year, Kuwaiti police busted an international cell led by a Lebanese man that was sending information on air defence systems and funds to the Islamic State group.

Several suspected IS members and sympathisers were tried in the Gulf emirate for a suicide bombing last month claimed by the group.

Source: middleeasteye.net

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