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Kuwaiti Suspected Of Involvement In IS Beheadings Arrested

Kuwait has seen a number of its nationals travel to Syria to fight for IS. (file photo)

Kuwaiti security forces have arrested a Kuwaiti citizen who returned to the country from Syria, where he allegedly fought for the Islamic State (IS) group and was involved in beheadings, according to reports in the Kuwaiti and Arab press.

According to the reports, the man was arrested after being spotted in video clips where he purportedly took part in beheadings in Syria.

The reports cited a security source as saying that the suspect was from the Al Ahmadi area and had embraced "IS ideology."

Kuwait is a member of the international coalition against IS in Syria and Iraq, led by the United States.

Like other members of the coalition, Kuwait has seen some of its nationals travel to Syria to fight, including for IS.

Kuwaitis have also provided financial support for some armed opposition groups in Syria, including IS. Along with Qatar, Kuwait has been singled out by the United States as a terrorist-financing problem area. According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a 2013 report by the U.S. State Department said there were "increased reports" of individuals based in Kuwait funding extremists in Syria.

In March, David Cohen, the U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence warned of the problem of wealthy donors from Kuwait and Qatar.

"[A] number of fundraisers operating in more permissive jurisdictions -- particularly in Kuwait and Qatar -- are soliciting donations to fund extremist insurgents, not to meet legitimate humanitarian needs. The recipients of these funds are often terrorist groups, including Al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, Al-Nusrah Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [the former name for IS]," Cohen said.

Kuwait has attempted to crack down on its nationals suspected of funneling cash to militants in Syria. In August, Kuwaiti security authorities briefly arrested two Sunni clerics suspected of channeling funds to Islamist extremists in Syria. One of the clerics, Hajjaj Al-Ajmi, was included on a U.S. sanctions list on suspicion that he was helping direct monies to IS.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

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"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world.


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