Responding to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, troops of the US 1st Cavalry Division deploy across the Saudi desert November 4, 1990, during preparations prior to the Gulf War. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Kuwait Sunday reburied the remains of 19 citizens who were captured or went missing during Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of the neighbouring country, local media.

The remains were identified by DNA tests after they were handed over by Iraqi authorities amid improving ties between the two countries.

Kuwaiti Interior Minister Thamer Al Aly, who is also the acting defence minister, Sunday led senior officials in a funeral held for the 19 people before their reburial in a cemetery in Sulaibikhat, a district of Kuwait City, Al Rai newspaper said.

Earlier this week, Rabeah Al Adasani, the head of a committee on prisoners of war and those missing in action at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry, said the remains of the 19 were among those brought from Iraq in recent months after “intense efforts” about their burial sites in Iraq.

He added that the ministry had notified their families after they had been identified.

The official added that the forensic evidence department at the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry is doing the identification job under tough circumstances. “They have to deal with a situation wherein long years have elapsed after burials took place in Iraq,” he said. “Kuwait will continue its efforts to determine the fate of all captives, be they Kuwaitis or citizens of other countries,” he added.

In 1991, the US led a multinational military coalition that evicted Saddam’s forces from Kuwait.

In the run-up to the war, the coalition’s airpower was estimated at more than 3,000 warplanes.

At the time, the Iraqi army was classified as the world’s fifth largest with more than 1 million troops.

During the 43-day campaign to liberate Kuwait, the coalition mounted nearly 110,000 air raids, including 1,000 sorties in the first 24 hours, crippling Saddam’s forces.