At least 13 killed and many people wounded in a suicide attack that targeted a Shiite Muslim mosque packed with some 2,000 worshippers during Friday prayers in Kuwait city, a witness said.
According to initial witness reports, eight people were killed in the explosion. But agency reports revised the death toll upward to 13.
Daesh claims attack
A Daesh terror group branch that refers to itself as the “Islamic State in the Province of Najd” (central Saudi Arabia) claimed responsibility for the attack on the mosque.
It named the bomber as Abu Sulaiman Al Muwahhid, adding that he was armed with a suicide belt, and targeted the “temple of the rejectionists”, using a pejorative reference to Shiites.
Kuwaiti parliament member Khalil Al Salih said worshippers were kneeling in prayer when a loud explosion ripped through, damaging the walls and ceiling.
He said a suicide bomber who looked to be under 30 years of age caused the explosion and that he saw several bodies covered in blood on the floor.
An explosion has ripped through a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City after Friday prayers, killing at least eight people and wounding several others, Al Jazeera has learned. Video footage from the scene showed several bodies on the floor of the Imam Sadiq mosque amid debris and clouds of heavy smoke.
The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, news agency AFP quoted a security official as saying. "It is a suicide bombing," the official said.
Witnesses gave a similar account, saying a suicide bomber entered the Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City during the weekly noon prayers.
The exact number of casualties was expected to rise, according to local media outlets, as several casualties were in critical condition. At least eight victims with various injuries arrived at a local hospital in the mosque's neighbourhood, medical sources said. Emergency services were attending the scene, which was surrounded by clouds of black smoke and crowds of people milling around.
Kuwaiti Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the Imam Sadiq mosque, located just a few building away from the country's interior ministry.
Saad al-Ajmi, Kuwait's former information minister, told Al Jazeera that the attack was a reminder that no country was "immune from terrorism". Ajmi said Kuwait had "a good record" in its relationship between Sunni and Shia groups, and was a small country with good security.
He said there was no widespread dissent and he would not be surprised if it was caused by a "lone wolf". However if a group was to claim responsibility "I think that those who want to tip the whole region ablaze in a sectarian war would be behind this attack because that is their agenda".