Kuwait seeking repatriation of extremists

Manama: Kuwaiti security authorities are working on repatriating 12 Kuwaitis involved in the fighting in Syria and bringing them to justice.

“Most of the 12 Kuwaitis are members of Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, an extremist alliance headed by Abu Mohammad Al Jolani, formerly known as the Nusra Front. They are mainly in Idlib while some of them are in the province of Aleppo,” Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported, citing a security source.

“Among the fighters, there is a former imam who had joined Al Qaida and then the Nusra Front, where he became one of its five religious officials. However, he later dissented and attacked Al Jolani.”

Another fighter was a religious official in the Tahrir Al Sham Commission and was close to Al Jolani. He also fought in Afghanistan, the source added.

“However, this fighter had a standoff with Abu Al Fath Al Farghali, a leader within the Egyptian wing at the commission, over the withdrawal from Idlib under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. He is still in contact with a number of figures affiliated with the extremists in Kuwait, including former convicts in the case of the Peninsula Lions, the organisation that staged several attacks in Kuwait in 2005.”

The other Kuwaitis are not considered among group leaders and they are focussed on religious calls, exerting efforts to resolve differences between the fighting groups in Syria. They have not engaged in armed actions.

None of the 12 Kuwaitis is affiliated with Daesh, the source added.

Kuwaiti authorities have carried out several arrests of suspects linked to extremist and terrorist groups.

In June 2015, a terrorist attack by a suicide bomber targeted Imam Sadiq Mosque in the capital, leaving 27 dead and 227 injured.

According to US reports, the Kuwaiti government has disrupted several terrorist plots and expanded its efforts to counter violent extremism. It also expanded its capacity to counter the financing of terrorism, imposing additional scrutiny on charitable organisations’ financial transactions.

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