KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday identified the suicide bomber behind an attack on a Shiite mosque as a Saudi national, after a series of arrests in connection with the blast that left 26 dead. Friday’s attack also wounded 227 worshippers in the first bombing of a mosque in the Gulf state, and Kuwait’s security services have vowed to catch and punish those responsible. The Islamic State group’s Saudi affiliate, the so-called Najd Province, claimed the bombing and identified the assailant as Abu Suleiman Al- Muwahhid.
Kuwait’s interior ministry gave the real name of the attacker as Fahad Suleiman Abdulmohsen Al-Gabbaa, in a statement carried by the official KUNA news agency. It said that he entered the country through Kuwait Airport at dawn on Friday, the same day of the bombing. It was not immediately known where Gabbaa had arrived from, but the timing of his arrival suggests he had a network already in place in Kuwait. A handout photograph of Gabbaa showed a young bearded man wearing a traditional Saudi headdress.
Earlier yesterday, the ministry said that security services arrested the driver of the car that transported the bomber to the Al- Imam Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait City He was named as Abdulrahman Sabah Eidan Saud and described as an “illegal resident” born in 1989. Authorities on Saturday arrested the car owner, Jarrah Nimr Mejbil Ghazi, born in 1988, and also listed as a stateless person. Authorities have also detained the owner of a house used as a hideout by the driver, describing the owner as a Kuwaiti national who subscribes to “extremist and deviant ideology”. “Illegal resident” is the official term used in Kuwait to describe stateless people, locally known as bedoons, who number around 110,000 and claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship.
Alleged IS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, who became known by media as “Jihadi John”, was born in Kuwait to a stateless family of Iraqi origin which later moved to London. Local media said 18 of those killed were Kuwaitis, three Iranians, two Indians, one each from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and one bedoon. The breakthroughs in the bombing probe came a day after thousands of Kuwaitis braved scorching summer heat on Saturday to attend the funerals of 18 victims.
Mourners turned out in large numbers for the funerals despite the Ramadan daylight fast and as temperatures hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). “This crowd is the proof that the objectives of the criminal act have failed,” Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem told reporters.