DOHA (Reuters) - Kuwait foiled three planned Islamic State attacks on the country, including a plot to blow up a Shi’ite mosque, after launching raids that resulted in the arrest of militants, state news agency KUNA said on Monday.
“Kuwait security agencies have carried out three pre-emptive operations in Kuwait and abroad that led to derailing a number of Islamic State (IS) plots targeting Kuwait and arresting several IS members,” said an interior ministry statement on KUNA.
The statement included pictures of a veiled, middle-aged woman and five young men, one of whom it said was a Kuwaiti national who had joined Islamic State and planned to bomb a mosque and an interior ministry building during Eid holidays.
A year ago, Kuwait, home to several U.S. military bases, suffered its deadliest militant attack in decades when a Saudi suicide bomber blew himself up inside a packed Shi’ite mosque, killing 27 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility.
A U.S. ally and neighbor of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Kuwait is part of a 34-nation alliance announced by Riyadh in December aimed at countering Islamic State and al Qaeda in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.
Shi’ites comprise between 15 and 30 percent of the predominantly Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab state, where members of both communities are known to live side by side with little apparent friction.
On Sunday, Kuwait National Petroleum Company said it would reinforce security measures at oil installations in coordination with the country’s interior ministry.
The OPEC member pumps 3 million barrels of crude a day and has three refineries with a combined capacity of 930,000 bpd.
Reporting by Tom Finn; Editing by Peter Cooney