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Kuwait Arrests 12 Over Ties To Iran, Hizballah

Kuwaiti authorities arrested 12 convicted members of a "terrorist cell" with ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Lebanon's Hizballah movement on August 12 after a weeks-long manhunt.

The men were among a group of 26 who had received prison sentences from Kuwait's Supreme Court in June but refused to turn themselves in.

The 12 members, who were on the run since their sentencing were captured in different areas across Kuwait. Two others remain at large.

Kuwaiti authorities said that the 26-member group, uncovered in 2015, was allegedly planning terrorist attacks in the Gulf country.

One Iranian man was tried in absentia and the rest are Kuwaiti nationals.

Kuwait has in recent years maintained somewhat better relations with mostly Shi'ite Iran than its Sunni Arab Gulf neighbors. Tehran has denied any involvement in the case.

But in response to the case, Kuwait closed the Iranian cultural mission and expelled 15 Iranian diplomats, deepening a rift between the Gulf Arab states and Tehran.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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