Kuwait held a mass funeral Saturday for 26 victims of a Shiite mosque bombing claimed by Daesh as the shocked country tightens security.
The interior ministry said in a statement early Saturday that 26 people and the suicide bomber were killed and 227 others were wounded in one of the country’s worst bombings and its first ever on a mosque.
The attack targeted Al Imam Al Sadeq mosque in the capital Kuwait City during Friday noon prayers.
The mosque authorities said in a statement that “Kuwait martyrs” will be laid to rest at the Shiite cemetery, west of the capital, at 4:00 pm (1300 GMT).
It said that condolences would be accepted for three days starting on Saturday at the Grand Mosque, the largest place of worship for Sunnis, in a show of solidarity.
Kuwait’s emir, the government, parliament and political groups and clerics have said the attack was aimed at stirring sectarian strife in the emirate.
Sunni religious and political groups were quick to condemn the attack carried out by Daesh, a radical Sunni group which considers Shiites to be heretics.
Shiites form a third of Kuwait’s 1.3 million native population.
The interior ministry has said an unspecified number of suspects were held for questioning in connection with the attack that shook the small Gulf state. No details were provided.
The cabinet announced after an emergency meeting Friday that all security agencies and police had been placed on alert to confront what it called “black terror”.
It also declared Saturday a day of mourning.
Shiite activist Abdul Wahed Khalfan told AFP that security at Shiite mosques was beefed up and citizens’ committees have been formed.
The Daesh-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Sulaiman Al Muwahhid bombed the mosque, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunnis.
Kuwaiti newspapers said the attack aimed to undermine national unity by fanning sectarian tensions.
“It is a black day ... in which Kuwait woke up to a spiteful bombing that aimed foremost to undermine its national unity and social structure,” said Al Qabas in a front-page editorial.
Al Anbaa newspaper agreed that the aim of the bomber was to divide society.
“The message of the despicable terrorist who blew himself up is clear: an attempt to ignite hateful strife between the Kuwaiti people,” said the daily.
Parliament and the cabinet are scheduled to hold a joint meeting Saturday to discuss the consequences of the bombing.
Eight Islamist, liberal and Shiite political groups condemned the attack in a joint statement and called on the government to confront extremists.
National oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC) said Saturday it had raised security at oil facilities to maximum level.
KPC spokesman Sheikh Talal Khaled Al Sabah said in a statement that all refineries, oilfields and oil sector operations had been placed under heightened security to maintain normal operations.