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Carnage in Kuwait as IS hits Shiite mosque – Amir condemns attack, Arrests made

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KUWAIT: State Security arrested 18 suspects following a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City that killed 27 people and 222 wounded during Friday prayers. After an emergency meeting, the Cabinet announced today as a national day of mourning following yesterday's attack. The suicide bomber snuck into the Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque near Kuwait's famous Al-Sawaber district in Sharq at the end of the well attended noon prayer.

Casualties covered in blood could be seen throughout the mosque grounds. Video footage obtained by Kuwait Times shows the alleged suicide bomber entering the mosque at sujood (at the point where people are kneeling), a few seconds later the explosion can be seen ripping through the mosque walls and doorway and blowing out windows. A government official confirmed to Reporter that the attack was a suicide bombing. Similar attacks also took place in Tunisia and France close to the same time as the strike in Kuwait, though no direct link was immediately established.

Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah condemned the blast and said that the perpetrators of this criminal act did not take into consideration that it was being committed in the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. "The blast was meant to tear asunder the fabric of the well-knitted Kuwaiti society by fomenting sectarian divisions and conflicts," His Highness said in an official statement to Kuna, "but that would not happen as Kuwaitis value their unity and societal solidarity."

The Amir said that security authorities were investigating the incident thoroughly and would eventually catch the criminals behind the blast and bring them to justice. He also extended his condolences to families of the dead and injured, wishing speedy recovery for the injured victims of this heinous act of terror. The Amir visited the site of the blast shortly after the attack.

Photos from the mosque show a chaotic scene with blood-covered bodies. Hundreds of police and emergency response teams at the scene. The Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the wounded in hospital yesterday. Yaqoub Al-Sanea, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs labeled the attack "a terrorist and criminal act that threatens our security and targets our national unity," reported Kuna news agency. State Security placed checkpoints and conducted raids in several areas in Kuwait including Taima, Sulaibiya and Riqqa.

The imam of Al-Sadiq mosque Sheikh Hamed Hadi Al-Saleh told Kuwait Times, "A suicide bomber entered the mosque. During the sujoud, he shouted 'Allahu Akbar' three times and blew himself up near worshippers in the back rows. People sitting on chairs were the closest to him, and thus most affected." The attack is the first ever suicide bombing against a Shiite mosque in Kuwait. Friday's attack was immediately claimed by Al-Najd Province, a group in Saudi Arabia affiliated with Islamic State militants. The group claimed two prior bombings, both in Saudi Arabia, against Shiite mosques including one in late May where 26 people died. The Al Nadj Province group named the bomber as Abu Suleiman Al-Muwahhid.

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah said the suicide bombing was a deliberate attack on Kuwaiti unity. Approximately 30 percent of the country's citizens are of the Shiite sect, the rest are Sunni. But Kuwait social media responded with calls for unity and prayers for those who died or were wounded in the attack. Hundreds of people flocked to Amiri Hospital to search for relatives or to offer donations of blood.The local blood bank opened to receive donations as well.


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