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.

 

Baghdad refuses talks with Kurdistan about referendum results

Three Israelis killed at West Bank settlement

Seven arrested in Egypt for raising rainbow flag at concert

European ambassadors to US strongly back Iran nuclear pact

Dubai set to become first city with flying taxis

Germany’s de facto ‘IS leader’ on trial

Saudi official axed over king's image with Yoda

Erdogan expects ‘ethnic war’ after Iraqi Kurdish independence vote

Syrian government ready to discuss Kurdish autonomy

63-year-old American abducted in Yemen's Sanaa

US kills ISIS chiefs hiding in new nerve centre

Saudi establishment spreading Shiite hate speech

Madrid hails Rabat’s collaboration in fighting terrorism

Regional tensions rise in Kurds’ independence vote

Iraq Kurds start voting in historic independence referendum

UAE announces plans for region’s first nuclear reactor

Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with border closure, oil block

Putin to visit Erdogan this week for Syria, Iraq talks

Sudan vows to step up efforts to improve US ties

Turkey to launch intervention into Syria — and maybe into Iraq

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi

Palestinian unity government remains unlikely

Emirati man fights his employer to serve in country’s army

Palestinian PM to visit Gaza next week

Saudi advisory body to tackle female driving ban

Turkey denies closing Iraqi border in response to Kurdish vote

US air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

Yemen's Hadi says military solution 'most likely'

The high cost of Syria’s destruction

Palestinian negotiator awaits lung transplant in US

Kurds ready for contentious vote in Iraq

A Kurdish state: Reality or utopia?

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Iran defies US, tests missile

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made