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Cairo: A trial of a group of Kuwaitis and expatriates charged with funding Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement is due to start on May 31,a Kuwaiti newspaper has reported.

Kuwait’s Criminal Court has set the first session of the trial on May 31, Al Anba said.

Last week, defendants in the case, which was disclosed late last year, were referred to a criminal trial in Kuwait on charges of illegally raising money for Hezbollah.

The indictment bill in the case included 11 Kuwaitis and seven expatriates working at foreign exchange offices charged with making illegal financial transfers, according to another Kuwaiti newspaper.

“The prosecution has raised state security charges against them,” Al Qabas newspaper reported last week, citing a source close to the high-profile case.

Nationalities of the foreign defendants were not disclosed.

The defendants in the case were earlier released from detention on bails with a travel ban.

Last November Kuwait announced dismantling a cell suspected of having connections with Hezbollah and financing its activities.

The suspects were questioned by the Kuwaiti State Security Service on charges including money laundry for Hezbollah, encouraging young Kuwaitis to collaborate with the Lebanese group, carrying out terror acts and smuggling drugs in Syria and Yemen, Kuwaiti media said at the time.

The case surfaced amid a diplomatic crisis between the Gulf countries, including Kuwait, with Lebanon after its then information minister George Kurdahi had made remarks supporting Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels. Kurdahi resigned in December amid efforts to defuse the crisis.

Last month, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia sent back their ambassadors to Lebanon in a sign of a thaw in their ties.

In recent years, Kuwait made several arrests over links with and funding of Hezbollah.

In 2015, Kuwait uncovered a group, dubbed Al Abadli Cell, charged with spying for Iran and Hezbollah as well as stockpiling weapons.