Kuwaiti authorities say they have identified the suicide bomber of a Shia mosque as a Saudi citizen.
The suicide bomber, who led an attack on Imam Sadiq mosque in al-Sawaber neighbourhood that left 27 people dead, was identified as a Saudi citizen, Kuwait’s interior ministry said on Sunday.
Fahed Suleiman Abdulmohsen al-Gabbaa entered Kuwait City on Friday morning, the same day of the attack, through Kuwait international airport.
Late on Sunday, Saudi’s ministry of interior said a security background check showed that Gabbaa, who was born in 1992, had no prior links to terrorism.
Saudi authorities also confirmed that the bomber left on Thursday from Riyadh to Manama, Bahrain, aboard Gulf Air Flight 170, adding that he had never flown before.
Authorities added that they are asking Bahrain for information regarding the transit period, including where Gabbaa stayed in the capital Manama.
Authorities also arrested the owner of the house where the suicide bomber was staying, the ministry confirmed on Sunday.
The owner of the car that drove the bomber was also arrested and a search is under way for the driver, Kuwait’s state news agency reported on Saturday.
Police said they were questioning a number of suspects with possible links to the bombing.
Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Kuwait City, said authorities have been very quick to try to identify the people behind the attack and try to arrest them.
“The driver and the owner of the vehicle that had been used in that horrific mosque attack on Friday were arrested within hours of the bombing. Police have said that several suspects have also been detained and are being questioned,” he said.
“This is clearly a push by the Kuwaiti authorities to let the region and the world know that they are trying to protect Kuwaitis.
“We know that the country is on a heightened state of alert and security forces have been placed on this heightened state of alert – and not just the land borders but also maritime borders have been secured.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the bombing, which was Kuwait’s worst attack in years and the first on a Shia mosque.
In a message posted on a Twitter account known to belong to the group, ISIL claimed the blast was the work of a bomber wearing an explosive vest.
Thousands of Sunnis and Shia Muslims from across the country took part in the victims’ funeral procession and prayer at Kuwait’s Grand Mosque on Saturday.
Many carried the Kuwaiti flag; others a simple black flag to signify mourning.
Friday’s attack prompted the Kuwaiti cabinet to announce after an emergency meeting that all security agencies and police had been placed on alert to confront what it called “black terror”.
“The cabinet stresses that it will take whatever measures necessary to root out this scourge, and declares a relentless all-out confrontation with these terrorists,” it said in a statement.
Kuwait’s Emir Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah visited the mosque, located just a few buildings away from the country’s interior ministry, following the attack.
He said the bombing violated the sanctity of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as well as Islamic law forbidding the shedding of the blood of innocents.
“National unity is a protective fence for the security of the nation,” Sabah said.
ISIL targeted Shia mosques in neighbouring Saudi Arabia on two consecutive Fridays in May.