August 14, 2017
Authorities on Saturday arrested 12 convicted members of a “terrorist cell” with ties to Iran and Lebanon’s Shiite movement Hezbollah after a weeks-long manhunt.
The Interior Ministry said the 12 had been captured in different areas across Kuwait. They had been on the run since their sentencing last month, while two other convicted Kuwaitis remained at large.
“The Interior Ministry announces that security services have arrested in different regions 12 people sentenced in the so-called Al-Abdali cell,” a statement from the ministry and carried by the state news agency KUNA said.
Authorities are still searching for two others convicted in the same case and still on the run, the statement added.
The Supreme Court in June overturned an acquittal by an appeals court and convicted 21 of forming a “terrorist cell” with ties to Iran and Hezbollah.
The cell had planned to launch attacks across the Gulf state, according to the court verdict.
Kuwait has protested to Lebanon over the alleged training of the so-called “Abdali Cell” by Hezbollah, which has ministers in the Beirut government.
Last month, authorities expelled 15 Iranian diplomats and shut down the military, cultural and trade missions of the Iranian embassy over Tehran’s backing of the “terrorist cell”.
Iran said the allegation is baseless.
On Friday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil telephoned his Kuwaiti counterpart Sabah Al-Khaled to follow up on the Al-Abdali terrorist cell, the members of which had received training from Hezbollah.
Bassil and his counterpart discussed the official complaint that Kuwait had filed against the party’s involvement in the cell, reported Lebanon’s National News Agency.
NNA said that Bassil had in recent weeks carried out a number of contacts with Kuwaiti officials in order to tackle the development and its repercussions.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had denied that his group had any cells operating in Kuwait.
“Hezbollah did not form cells in Kuwait and it does not have any cells or members there,” he said during his recent televised appearance.
He stressed Lebanon’s “great keenness on having the best ties” with the Gulf country.