A suicide bomber blew himself up at a packed Shi’ite Muslim mosque in Kuwait city during Friday prayers, killing more than ten people, the governor of Kuwait City said.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on social media and said it targeted a “temple of the rejectionists” – a term it usually uses to refer to Shi’ite Muslims, whom it regards as heretics.
It was the first suicide bombing attack on a Shi’ite mosque in the small Gulf Arab oil exporter, where Sunnis and Shi’ites live side by side with little apparent friction.
Islamic State on Tuesday urged its followers to step up attacks during the Ramadan fasting month against Christians, Shi’ites and Sunni Muslims fighting with a U.S.-led coalition against the ultra-radical group.
Kuwaiti parliament member Khalil al-Salih said worshippers were kneeling in prayer when a suicide bomber walked into the Imam al-Sadeq Mosque side and blew himself up, destroying walls and the ceiling.
“It was obvious from the suicide bomber’s body that he was young. He walked into the prayer hall during sujood (kneeling in prayer), he looked …in his 20s, I saw him with my own eyes”.
Kuwait City governor Thabet al-Muhanna said at least 10 people were killed in the attack.