Kuwait has charged 26 people for illegally possessing weapons and for having “furtive contacts with Iran and Hezbollah”, state news agency KUNA reported.
The arrests come after the Gulf Arab country uncovered a massive weapons cache last month, allegedly smuggled from Iran. A total of 19,000 kg (42,000 lb) of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 68 weapons and 204 grenades were seized from three properties in the al-Abdali area, as per reports.
While 25 of those accused in the weapons smuggling case are Kuwaiti citizens, one is an Iranian, the agency quoted the public prosecutor as saying. The government said that it had arrested all suspects except three who will be tried in absentia.
The public prosecutor said that 24 suspects will be charged with “committing acts harmful to the unity and territorial integrity of Kuwait” as well as for maintaining contacts with Iran and Hezbollah. They will also be charged on counts such as illegally buying, possessing and assembling machine guns and explosives and for having instruments used for tapping communication devices.
Meanwhile 22 of the suspects will be charged for receiving training on how to use these explosives while 11 among the group will be charged for possessing tapping devices. One was arrested for failing to report that others had arms and explosives.
A number of those detained had also joined Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah, KUNA said.
Kuwait has been on high alert ever since a suicide bomber affiliated to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant blew himself up in a Shi’ite mosque earlier this year. Following the attack, the Gulf country has cracked down on militant cells, regardless of whether they belong to Shi’ite or Sunni sects.
The interior ministry of Kuwait released a statement in June, saying that it is in war with hardline militants who were trying to stir up sectarian tensions in the country and destabilise the state.