Most victims of Kuwait's Shiite mosque bombing were laid to rest on Saturday. Local police have arrested nearly 20 suspects in connection with the suicide bombing, which was claimed by the "Islamic State" group.
Thousands of Kuwaitis participated in a mass funeral for some 18 people who died in a suicide bombing on Friday. The bodies of the remaining eight victims will be flown to the Iraqi holy city of Najaf for burial, according to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah al Sabah, a state minister.
Mourners turned out in a large number despite sweltering temperatures and chanted religious slogans to honor the victims whose coffins were draped in national flags.
"This crowd is proof that the objectives of the criminal act have failed," Kuwait's parliament speaker Marzoul al Ghanem told media. He was accompanied by several members of parliament and ministers at the funeral which was held at a cemetery west of Kuwait City.
Some people held placards carrying slogans "No to terrorism," and "Down with Daesh" - an Arabic acronym for "Islamic State" (IS).
On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked the Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City, killing 26 people and wounding dozens. The bomb tore through the mosque as it was packed with around 2,000 worshippers, who had gathered for Friday prayers.
The "IS" terror group claimed responsibility for the attack on mosque. This marks the first time that Kuwaiti Shiites have been targeted by IS which operates mainly in Syria and Iraq.
Shiites make up around one-third of Kuwait's 1.3 million citizens. IS, a Sunni group, considers Shiites heretics. The group has attacked several Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in the past months.
Police round up suspects
Security has been beefed up throughout Kuwait around Shiite mosques and in the country's oil-producing areas following the attack.
Police officials told media on Saturday they were investigating an unspecified number of apprehended suspects - including one man who allegedly owned the van which brought the bomber to the mosque.
"Security agencies will track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice as soon as possible," said a statement from the interior ministry.
"We will cut the evil hand that interferes with our homeland's security," added Sheikh Mohammed al Khaled al Sabah, the interior minister.
According to state news agency Kuna, at least 18 suspects were arrested in connection with the bombing.
shs/ng (AFP, dpa, Reuters)