SHAFAQNA -Â Thousands of Kuwaitis braved scorching summer heat on Saturday to attend the funerals of 18 out of 26 victims of a Shiite mosque bombing claimed by the so-called Islamic State terror group.
The bodies of the remaining eight victims were flown to Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Najaf for burial, State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah said.
Mourners turned out in large numbers 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 Marzouk al-Ghanem told reporters.
In Kuwait, condolences were being accepted for three days from Saturday at the Grand Mosque, the largest place of worship for Sunni Muslims, in a show of solidarity.
A day of mourning was declared in Kuwait on Saturday following the attack on the Imam Sadiq mosque in the district of Sawaber, in the eastern part of Kuwait City.
Police said they were questioning a number of suspects with possible links to the suicide bombing.
The owner of the car that drove the bomber has been arrested and a search is under way for the driver, Kuwait’s state news agency reported on Saturday.
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.
On Saturday, thousands of Sunnis and Shia from across the country took part in the victims’ funeral procession and prayer at Kuwait’s Grand Mosque.
Many carried the Kuwaiti flag; others a simple black flag to signify mourning.Â
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.
In a show of solidarity, major Sunni leaders have also expressed solidarity with the victim families. The emirate also declared Saturday a day of mourning.