First Published: 2017-08-21

Kuwait arrests 13 fugitives in Iran-linked terror case
Suspects convicted of weapons smuggling, spying for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Middle East Online

By The Arab Weekly staff - LONDON

Six of the men arrested by Kuwaiti authorities

Kuwaiti authorities ar­rested 13 members of the Hezbollah-affiliated Abdali cell who had been missing since July. The suspects were convicted, most in absentia, of weapons smuggling and spying for Iran’s Islamic Revo­lutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah move­ment to carry out “hostile acts” in Kuwait.

Kuwait’s Interior Ministry an­nounced the capture of 12 suspect­ed members of the cell in differ­ent parts of the country. Security services arrested another person a day later and a search for two other individuals continued. A total of 25 Kuwaiti nationals and an Iranian had been charged in the case.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, on an official visit to Ku­wait, pledged his country’s sup­port in countering the Hezbollah cell.

“We clearly said that we con­demn what happened regarding Abdali cell and that Lebanon is prepared to cooperate, with all its apparatus, to end this issue.” Hariri said in a statement after meeting with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah.

“There is a great Kuwaiti resent­ment towards it and they are right about it and we in Lebanon will co­operate on this issue,” Hariri said.

Hariri’s Future Movement party, earlier in August, slammed Hez­bollah for its involvement in the Abdali case, warning that it could compromise relations with Kuwait and other countries in the Gulf Co­operation Council (GCC). In 2016, Kuwait and other GCC members expelled a significant number of Lebanese nationals over alleged links to Hezbollah.

“We are here to express our con­demnation of the findings of the three-year trial of the Abdali cell, which proved that some ‘Hezbol­lah’ members were part of it,” the Future Movement said in a state­ment after its delegation met with Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Interior Ministry vowed to cooperate with Kuwaiti officials. Iran-sponsored Hezbol­lah denied having any affiliation with the terror cell.

Kuwait logged an official com­plaint in July with the Lebanese government, asking it to “assume its responsibilities towards irre­sponsible practices by Hezbollah” and take measures to deter “hei­nous” practices by the Iran-spon­sored group.

Following a meeting with Hariri, Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah said Kuwaiti of­ficials requested Beirut keep them informed on measures taken to fend off those trying to undermine Kuwait’s security and stability.

The Abdali case has also been a sore point in Kuwaiti-Iranian rela­tions, despite Kuwait’s traditional role as a regional mediator and peace broker. On July 20, Kuwaiti officials closed Iran’s cultural mis­sion and military offices and re­quested the Iranian Embassy re­duce its diplomatic mission from 19 representatives to four.

Tehran blamed the diplomatic spat on an “American-Zionist” con­spiracy.

Iran reacted harshly to recent developments in the Abdali case, with the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait filing an official complaint against a local publication for stating it was connected to the Abdali terror cell.

The Abdali cell was uncovered in August 2015 during a major security campaign to crack down on sleeper networks nationwide. The cam­paign was initiated after a bombing attack on the Shia Imam as-Sadiq Mosque. Kuwaiti authorities found large quantities of weapons hidden on farmland linked to the group and in three other houses across the country, including 19 tonnes of ammunition, 14 kilograms of explosives, rocket-propelled gre­nades, 204 grenades and electric detonators.

Kuwaiti investigators said the weapons were smuggled from Iran by sea. The cell’s ringleader was convicted of meeting with Iranian officials at their diplomatic mission in Kuwait, as well as with Iranian officials in Tehran, including IRGC representatives, to facilitate the smuggling of weapons.

This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.

 

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues