Massacre in Kuwait sparks outrage
LONDON - A Shia mosque in Kuwait was among the targets of the three June 26th terrorist attacks. The assault on the mosque left 27 people dead and 227 injured.
Kuwaiti officials identified the suicide bomber behind the attack as Saudi national Fahad Suleiman Abdulmohsen Al-Gabbaa.
The attack, the first in Kuwait in more than two decades, was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group’s Saudi affiliate, the so-called Najd Province, the same ISIS branch responsible for attacks on Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in late May, which resulted in the deaths of 26 people.
A statement on social media accounts affiliated with the terrorist group named the bomber as Abu Suleiman al-Muwahed, a possible nom de guerre for Gabbaa, and said the operation targeted a “temple of the rejectionists”, a term pejoratively used by Islamist militant groups to describe followers of the Shia doctrine.
The bombing sparked outrage within Kuwaiti society. “The wrath of God will come upon ISIS and everyone who is supporting them and collecting funds for them under the cover of helping refugees and orphans,” wrote Hamad al- Baghli, a Kuwaiti, on Twitter.
The day after the bombings thousands of Kuwaitis attended the funerals of 18 of the victims, despite the scorching summer heat. The mourners, who included women in black Islamic dress, carried Kuwaiti flags and black-and-green banners bearing religious slogans.
“This crowd is the proof that the objectives of the criminal act have failed,” parliament Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said.
“We want to deliver a message to Daesh (an Arabic acronym for ISIS) that we are united brothers among the Sunnis and Shias, and they cannot divide us,” Abdulfatah al-Mutawwia, a Kuwaiti whose brother died in the bombing, said in Iraq.
Kuwait has one of the largest Shia communities in the Gulf. Such communities have been among the prime targets of ISIS. A week before the June 26th attacks, the terrorist group’s chief propagandist, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, released an audio message calling on followers of the group to target “kuffars (infidels), Crusaders, Shias and apostates”.
Adnani claimed these operations during the holy month of Ramadan would lead to great rewards in the afterlife.
Kuwait authorities arrested Gabbaa’s driver and the owner of the car that took him to the Al-Imam Al-Sadeq mosque. The Interior Ministry identified them as Abdulrahman Saud and Jarrah Ghazi; both considered members of Kuwait’s “stateless” Bedouin population.
It is worth mentioning that notorious ISIS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, is also from Kuwait’s Bedouin population, who number around 110,000 and are considered non-citizens in Kuwait.
In October 2014, US officials said that Qatar and Kuwait were not doing enough to stop the ISIS funding. David Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, lauded the cooperation from some Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but said that Qatar and Kuwait were still “permissive jurisdictions for terrorist financing”.
Two months earlier, the US Department of the Treasury designated three Kuwaiti nationals as terrorism financiers, with two of the individuals accused of funding al- Nusra Front in Syria, while the third individual, named Abd al-Rahman Khalaf al-‘Anizi, was identified for supporting ISIS.
According to UK newspaper the Guardian, up to 800 Kuwaitis are thought to have travelled to join ISIS and several hundred are believed to have since returned to Kuwait. In September 2014, a coalition of GCC countries, which did not include Kuwait, joined the United States in bombing ISIS targets in Syria, in what US President Barack Obama described as evidence “to the world that this is not America’s fight alone” and that governments in the Middle East are rejecting ISIS.
Kuwait’s cabinet announced after an emergency meeting on the day of the attack that all security agencies and police had been put on alert to confront what it called “black terror”. Kuwaiti Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Yaqoub al-Sane said additional security measures would be taken around mosques and places of worship. Countries and organisations, including the United Nations and the United States, issued statements deploring the bombing. Eight Islamist, liberal and Shia political groups condemned the attack in a joint statement and called on the government to confront extremists.