An explosion has ripped through a Shia mosque in Kuwait City after Friday prayers, killing at least eight people and wounding several others, Al Jazeera has learned.
Video footage from the scene showed several bodies on the floor of the Imam Sadiq mosque amid debris and clouds of heavy smoke.
The exact number of casualties was expected to rise, according to local media outlets, as several casualties were in critical condition.
At least eight victims with various injuries arrived at a local hospital in the mosque’s neighbourhood, medical sources said.
Emergency services were attending the scene, which was surrounded by clouds of black smoke and crowds of people milling around.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the Imam Sadiq mosque, located just a few buidling away from the country’s interior ministry.
An emergency session of parliament has also been called.
Saad al-Ajmi, Kuwait’s former information minister, told Al Jazeera that the attack was a reminder that no country was “immune from terrorism”.
Ajmi said Kuwait had “a good record” in its relationship between Sunni and Shia groups, and was a small country with good security without widespread dissent.
However if a group was responsible, he said: “I think that those who want to tip the whole region ablaze in a sectarian war would be behind this attack because that is their agenda.”