United Arab Emirates authorities plan to try 41 people of various nationalities including Emiratis on charges of setting up a terrorist group, the official WAM news agency reported on Sunday, adding the suspects wanted to set up a caliphate.
The suspects had firearms and explosives and had been in touch with militant groups abroad, the agency quoted Attorney-General Salem Saeed Kubaish as saying in a statement.
“Investigations showed that they set up and managed a terrorist group inside the country … to carry out terrorist acts on its territories,” he said, adding the suspects called themselves the Minaret Youth Group.
The statement did not name the organisations whom the suspects had allegedly contacted. But Gulf Arab states are on alert for attempts by the Islamic State militant group to carry out threats it has made to stage attacks on their soil.
The Sunni militant group has attacked Shi’ite mosques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in recent weeks, killing dozes of people. Islamic State views Shi’ites as heretics and wants to expel them from the Arabian Peninsula.
“They were planning to harm public and private institutions, take power in the UAE and create a caliphate that matches their ideologies,” Kubaish said.
“They had firearms, munitions and explosive materials … they communicated with external terrorist groups and organizations which provided them with whatever money they needed and with people to achieve their goals inside the nation.”