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Kuwait arrests 12 over ties to Iran, Hezbollah

AFP , Saturday 12 Aug 2017
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Kuwaiti authorities on Saturday arrested 12 convicted members of a "terrorist cell" with ties to Iran and Lebanon's Shia movement Hezbollah after a weeks-long manhunt.

The interior ministry said the 12 had been captured in different areas across Kuwait. They had been on the run since their sentencing last month, while two other convicted Kuwaitis remained at large.

The supreme court in Sunni-ruled Kuwait, which has a sizeable Shia minority, in June overturned an acquittal by an appeals court and convicted 21 Shia of forming a "terrorist cell" with ties to Iran and Hezbollah.

The cell had planned to launch attacks across the Gulf state, according to the court verdict.

Kuwait has protested to Lebanon over the alleged training of the so-called "Abdali Cell" by Hezbollah, which has ministers in the Beirut government.

Last month, authorities expelled 15 Iranian diplomats and shut down the military, cultural and trade missions of the Iranian embassy over Tehran's backing of the "terrorist cell".

Iran said the allegation is baseless.

Shiites account for around a third of Kuwait's native population of 1.35 million.

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