Kuwait charges ‘terror cell tied to Iran and Hezbollah’

Twenty-five Kuwaitis and one Iranian accused of plotting attacks and spying in Gulf state amid rising tension with Iran.

A general view of the Kuwait Palace of Justice in Kuwait City
Kuwait has traditionally had better ties with Iran than its fellow Gulf Arab states, but tensions have been rising [Reuters]

Kuwait has charged 26 people, suspected of links to Iran’s government and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, with plotting attacks against the Gulf state, according to the Kuwait state news agency Kuna.

The men were charged on Tuesday with “spying for the Islamic republic of Iran and Hezbollah to carry out aggressive acts against the State of Kuwait” by smuggling in and assembling explosives, as well as firearms and ammunition, the public prosecutor said in a statement.

The men were also charged with “carrying out acts that would undermine the unity and territorial integrity” of Kuwait, and of possessing eavesdropping devices.

Two other men were also charged in the same case, one with possessing illegal arms and the other for failing to inform authorities about the arms.

One of the suspects is Iranian, the rest are Kuwaiti nationals. Three of them remain at large and were charged in absentia.

Prosecutors said the suspects were linked with a “terror cell” which the interior ministry said it had exposed last month while seizing large amounts of weapons, ammunition and explosives.

Officials said at the time that three men had been arrested and confessed to joining an illegal group that local media reported was Hezbollah.

Media reported that more arrests followed and the prosecutor said 22 of the suspects charged on Tuesday had received training on the use of explosives and arms.

A number of the suspects were accused of being members of Hezbollah which “aims to demolish the social and economic foundations of the country,” the prosecutor’s statement said.

‘Spreading chaos’

Kuwait has traditionally had better ties with Iran than its fellow Gulf Arab states, but tensions have been rising.

On Sunday, senior Kuwaiti politician Hamad al-Harashani described Iran as the “true enemy” of Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states and said it was “seeking to spread chaos” in the region.

“It has become clear to all that Iran is an enemy plotting to swallow up our states and resources and is the true enemy of the region,” Harashani, the head of the Kuwaiti parliament’s foreign relations committee, said in a statement.

Kuwait has also in recent months arrested alleged members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, which claimed responsibility for an attack on a Shia mosque in June that killed 26 people.

Source: AFP