Three Saudi Arabian brothers arrested over Kuwait mosque bombing that killed 26

Kuwait Special Forces control the area around the Shiite Imam Sadiq Mosque in Al Sawaber area of Kuwait City, on June 26, 2015.
Kuwait Special Forces control the area around the Shiite Imam Sadiq Mosque in Al Sawaber area of Kuwait City, on June 26, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH (AFP) - Three Saudi Arabian brothers have been arrested in connection with the bombing of a Kuwaiti mosque that killed 26 people, Riyadh said on Tuesday after a shootout with one of the suspects.

Two of the brothers arrested in Saudi Arabia had transported the explosives used in the suicide bombing of the Shi'ite mosque in Kuwait, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

It said Majed al-Zahrani and Mohammad al-Zahrani smuggled in the explosives in an icebox by car through Nuwaiseeb border post from Saudi Arabia, a day before the June 26 bombing.

The two Saudis then delivered the explosives near the border post to Abdulrahman Sabah Eidan Saud, a stateless Arab who passed them on to the suicide bomber and drove him to the target mosque, the ministry said.

It said tests had shown that the explosives were of the same type as used in two similar attacks on Shi'ite mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, the Interior Ministry said Mohammad Zahrani was arrested in Khafji, another border town near Nuwaiseeb, after a shootout with Saudi security forces.

Two security personnel were wounded in the shootout, it said, adding that brother Majed was arrested in the south-western Saudi city of Taif.

A third brother was arrested in Kuwait and handed over to the Saudi authorities, officials in the emirate said.

"Two of them were born in Kuwait and they have ties to a fourth sibling who is present in Syria as part of Daesh," the Saudi ministry said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni extremist group that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Kuwait has said more than 40 people could face charges in connection with the mosque blast.

ISIS claimed the suicide bombing, which it said was carried out by a Saudi.

On Friday, a Saudi policeman was shot dead during a raid in Taif, where officers said they found ISIS flags.

Three suspects were arrested. A fourth escaped but was later killed in a gun battle with law enforcement officers, the interior ministry said.

Kuwait has said more than 40 people there could face charges in connection with the blast.

The ISIS-affiliated group calling itself Najd Province, which claimed the Kuwait bombing, also said it carried out two suicide attacks at Shiite mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia in May.

ISIS considers Shi'ites to be heretics and has targeted them across the region.

Gulf interior ministers on Friday held an emergency meeting in Kuwait after the string of bombings and called for coordination to confront what they called a "serious epidemic".