KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait on Tuesday charged 24 people suspected of links to Iran and Shia militia group Hezbollah with plotting attacks against the Gulf state, prosecutors said.
The men were charged 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, the statement said.
Two other men were also charged in the same case, one with possessing illegal arms and another accused of 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” the interior ministry said it had busted 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 had 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 to “achieve illegal goals”.
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.
Sunni-ruled Kuwait has traditionally had better ties with Iran than its fellow Gulf Arab states, but tensions have been rising.
On Sunday, senior Kuwaiti lawmaker 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.
Kuwait has also in recent months arrested alleged members of the Sunni extremist Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for an attack on a Shia mosque in June that killed 26 people.