Kuwait Shia mosque blast suspect confessed he joined ISIS militants

SHAFAQNA - The main suspect in a deadly attack on a Kuwaiti Shia mosque in June confessed in court yesterday to being in the so-called Islamic State militant group.

Abdulrahman Sabah Saud told the first hearing of the trial of 22 men and seven women that he joined IS terror group just a day before the June 26 suicide bombing that killed 26 innocent worshipers and wounded hundreds. It was the worst ever attack in the emirate.

Although the public prosecution has not released the official charge sheets, a number of defendants are charged with being in a proscribed group and taking part in the bombing. Most are also accused of assisting those behind the attack.

Saud, who drove Saudi bomber Fahad al-Qaba’a to the mosque in Kuwait City, was arrested two days after the blast in a hideout owned by two other suspects. Saud also confessed to transporting an icebox containing the explosives belt used in the attack from near the border with Saudi Arabia.

The icebox was delivered by two Saudi brothers who are now in custody in Saudi Arabia along with a third brother who was arrested in Kuwait.

Saud said he met the bomber late on the Thursday night, a day before the attack, at the airport and took him to a five-star hotel. At 2.30 the next morning, he took him to a restaurant for a pre-fasting meal and then returned him to the hotel.

Later on Friday morning, Saud said he brought the bomber to his home in Sulaibiya, 20km southwest of Kuwait City where he shaved off his long beard and put on the explosives belt.

At around 11, they left for the mosque and arrived about 90 minutes later, Saud said. He dropped the bomber there and drove off.

Yesterday’s hearing was held under tight security, with everyone checked before being allowed into the courtroom. Five defendants are still at large and being tried in absentia.

The seven women present, wearing abayas and face covers, were allowed to sit with female police guarding them while the male defendants were placed in a metal cage. Only Saud admitted being in ISIS: all of the others denied involvement in the bombing or with the militant group.

Thamer al-Jadaei, the lawyer for Jarrah Nimer, owner of the car used in the attack, said his client gave the vehicle to Saud to transport charity meals for breaking the fast during Ramadan. Jadaei also told the court that all members of Nimer’s family are Shias since he is himself a convert. The women defendants include the wives of both Saud and Nimer.  

Those charged are seven Kuwaitis, five Saudis, three Pakistanis, 13 stateless people known as bidoons and another person at large whose identity is unknown.

An IS-affiliated group calling itself Najd Province claimed the bombing and also said it carried out suicide attacks at two Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia in May.

The so-called IS militants considers Shia believers to be heretics and have targeted them across the region.

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