Kuwait appeals for unity over Hezbollah tensions


The government has become increasingly concerned after hundreds of people took part in a rally last month to mourn Imad Mughnieh, killed in a Damascus car bomb.

The rally caused uproar in the oil-rich emirate because Mughnieh was accused of hijacking a Kuwaiti plane two decades ago.

"The cabinet urges citizens and the media to avoid issues that could undermine our national unity and the solidarity of the Kuwaiti people," said a statement issued after the weekly cabinet meeting.

"We should work together to safeguard Kuwait’s security and stability," said the statement, adding that legal measures will be applied to all.

Since the rally, eight leading Shiite activists including two former MPs and a prominent cleric have been arrested on charges of being members of Hezbollah Kuwait, a previously unknown group. Two have been freed on bail.

Hundreds of angry Shiites demonstrated for the second day in a row on Monday outside the interior ministry in Kuwait City to protest at the detention of one of those arrested, Sheikh Hussein al-Maatuq.

The protest, which included many women activists, came after the public prosecution remanded the six activists for another day in police custody pending investigation.

"I call on Kuwaiti society… to be solidly united and stay away from these tensions… which are against our national interests," parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi told reporters.

"Our country cannot bear this… We should remember what happened to us when our country was occupied," by Iraqi troops in August 1990, Khorafi said.

Around one-third of Kuwait’s native population of one million are Shiite, with the rest being Sunni.


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