KUWAIT POLICE BUSTS I.S. CELL

KUWAIT, Nov 20 (NNN-KUNA) – In a pre-emptive move and in a major blow to the terrorist elements in Kuwait, security forces have busted and dismantled a multi-national cell for the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (IS), including five Syrians, two Australians, a Lebanese, an Egyptian and one Kuwaiti.

The vigilance of security agencies has led to the apprehension of a dangerous IS cell in Kuwait, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) announced in a press statement, adding that the cell was providing the main organisation in Syria with new recruits, money, weaponry and logistical support.

It stated that, five of the cell members were arrested and four others are still fugitive outside the country. The ringleader is a 45-year-old Lebanese national, born in Kuwait, named Osama Khayat.

It added that the cell included a Kuwaiti national named Rakan Al-Ajmi and was responsible for logistical matters.

The Interior Minister said that, the cell dismantling comes in continuation of the security agencies following up, monitoring and crackdown on extremists in the state.

It pointed out that Khayat, the cell coordinator, was arrested first, and during cross examination, he gave detailed information about the cell members and roles.

The suspect, who has been using his website for propaganda work for IS, confessed that he has been in contact with the group leaders in Syria and has made several arms’ deals for the main organisation, including deals for purchasing FN-6 missiles and other weaponry from Ukraine.

Khayat told investigators that the purchased weaponry was being shipped to Turkey and being smuggled into Syria later.

He admitted that he has printed and dispatched stamps and seals with the IS logo for the main organisation and transferred money to IS-related bank accounts in Turkey.

The ministry statement pointed that Khayat gave the names of the five cell members in Kuwait and were all arrested, namely: Abdulkarim Mohammad Selem (Syrian national born in 1962), who has Ukraine-based arms company and was about to purchase shoulder-fired missiles and telecommunication devices; Hazem Mohammad Khair Tartari (Syrian national born in 1984), works at a local company; Wael Mohammad Ahmad Baghdadi (Egyptian national born in 1987), ISIL member; Rakan Nasser Muneer Al-Ajmi (Kuwaiti national born in 1988) and was offering Logistical support to the terrorists; Abdulnasser Mahmoud Al-Shawa (Syrian national born in 1987).

Investigations also unveiled names of four other members who are still at large abroad, the MoI said.

The fugitive suspects are: Australian-Lebanese nationals, Hesham Mohammad Thahab and Rabia Thahab; Syrian Waleed Nasif, who works as currency exchanger in a Turkish city bordering Syria; Mahammad Hekmat Tartari (Syrian national born in 1980), who was in charge of financial matters and external liaison.

The arrested suspects and seized items were all referred to relevant investigation bodies, the ministry said.

It reiterated firm determination to confront any attempt from extremist and terrorist groups to jeopardise the country’s security and people’s safety.

It also urged all the people to cooperate with security bodies for securing the homeland.– NNN-KUNA