July 6, 2015 / 2:10 PM / 2 years ago

Kuwait detains 26 over Islamic State suicide attack on mosque - newspaper

Workers install a security camera at the Al A'ali Grand Mosque, where joint Sunni and Shi'ites prayers are to be held to show solidarity and co-existence between the two sects of Islam, ahead of Friday prayers in Al A'ali south of Manama, July 3, 2015.Hamad I Mohammed

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait has detained 26 people suspected of involvement in a suicide bombing on a Shi'ite Muslim mosque last month that killed 27 people, a local newspaper reported on Monday, quoting the public prosecutor.

The June 26 attack by Islamic State militants jolted Kuwait, raising the spectre of sectarian strife in the Gulf Arab oil exporting state. The attack prompted the government to declare it was at war with Islamist militants and that it would strike at cells believed to be on its soil.

The prosecutor, Dherar al-Asousi, said four women were among the 26 suspects detained for possible links to the attack, the Kuwaiti Arabic-language al-Qabs newspaper said. Asousi said the suspects had been detained for 10 days.

He said other suspects, including fighters with Islamic State abroad, have been identified and that some of their relatives inside Kuwait have been charged in connection with the blast. Asousi gave no numbers and provided no further details.

Al-Rai newspaper, another Arabic-language Kuwaiti daily, said last week that 10 suspects, among them Saudis, Kuwaitis and stateless residents of Kuwait, had been referred to the public prosecution, a move that indicates a criminal case has been opened.

Among those 10 are five principal suspects accused of helping the suicide bomber, a Saudi, to carry out the attack, the newspaper said.

Kuwaiti officials have said the attack was aimed at stirring up sectarian conflict in the majority Sunni Muslim emirate, where the two sects have traditionally coexisted in peace.

As authorities tightened security, parliament last Wednesday approved a law put forward by the interior ministry to create a DNA registry of Kuwaiti nationals and residents living in the Gulf state.

Reporting Ahmed Hagagy, writing by Taghreed Almadani, editing by Sami Aboudi and Gareth Jones

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