The weapons purchased by the cell were first shipped to Turkey and then smuggled into Syria. Image Credit: Kuwait interior ministry

Dubai: Kuwait has busted a multi-national cell linked to the terror group Daesh in an operation the interior ministry described as “a major blow to terrorism in the country.”

The cell was included five Syrians, two Australians, one Lebanese, one Egyptian and one Kuwaiti, the ministry said in a statement carried by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).
“The cell was providing Daesh in Syria with new recruiters, money, weaponry and logistical support,” the statement said.

“Five of the cell members were arrested and four others are outside the country. The ringleader is a 45-year-old Lebanese national, born in Kuwait, named Osama Khayat. The Kuwaiti national, Rakan Al Ajmi, was responsible for the logistical matters.”

The interior minister said the cell dismantling “comes in continuation of the security agencies following up, monitoring and cracking down on extremists in the state.”

“Khayat, the cell coordinator, was the first to be arrested and during his questioning, he gave detailed information about the cell members and roles. The suspect, who has been using his website for propaganda work for Daesh, confessed that he has been in contact with the group leaders in Syria and has made several arms deals arms for the main group, including deals for purchasing FN-6 missiles and others weapons from Ukraine,” the statement said.

Khayat told investigators that the purchased weapons were shipped to Turkey and then smuggled into Syria.

He admitted that he has printed and dispatched stamps and seals with the Daesh logo and transferred money to Daesh related bank accounts in Turkey.

“Khayat gave the names of the five cell members in Kuwait who were arrested. They are Abdul Karim Mohammad Selem, a Syrian national born in 1962, who has a Ukraine-based arms company and was about to purchase shoulder-fired missiles and telecommunication devices; Hazem Mohammad Khair Tartari, a Syrian national born in 1984, works in a local company; Wael Mohammad Ahmad Baghdadi, an Egyptian national born in 1987 and Daesh member; Rakan Nasser Muneer Al Ajmi, a Kuwaiti national born in 1988, who was offering logistical support to the terrorists, and Abdul Nasser Mahmoud Al Shawa, a Syrian national born in 1987.

Investigations also unveiled the names of other four members who still at large abroad, the interior ministry said. They are Australian-Lebanese nationals Hisham Mohammad Thahab and Rabia Thahab; Syrian Waleed Nasif, who works as currency exchanger in a Turkish city bordering Syria, and Mohammad Hekmat Tartari, a Syrian national born in 1980, who was in charge of financial matters and external liaison.

The statement said that the arrested suspects and the seized items had been referred to the relevant investigation bodies.

“The ministry reiterates its firm determination to confront any attempt from extremist and terrorist groups to jeopardise the country’s security and people’s safety. It also urged all people to cooperate with security bodies.”