GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings
KUWAIT CITY - Interior ministers of the Gulf states Friday vowed to take a united stand against a string of deadly bombings targeting Shiite mosques claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
Holding an emergency meeting in Kuwait, the scene of the latest suicide attack that killed 26 people last Friday, the ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states stressed the attacks are a threat to the stability of the region.
Around 50 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in suicide attacks on three Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the past two months, all claimed by IS.
The Sunni jihadist group considers Shiites heretics and has repeatedly targeted them in attacks across the Middle East.
The ministers "underscored the importance of coordination and cooperation in all measures and steps in confronting this serious epidemic... which is a threat to the security and stability of the GCC states," said a statement issued after the night meeting.
Besides Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the GCC includes Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The statement called the attacks "criminal acts not linked with Islam and its values, which renounce violence and the killing of innocents," but did not spell out any new measures to stop them.
"Terrorist attacks that targeted places of worship aim at sowing dissent, promoting divisions, undermining security and terrorising and killing innocent people," the statement said.
Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani were among GCC ministers present at the meeting.
The officials also expressed sympathy with Kuwait, which suffered the worst attack in its history last week with a suicide bombing that left 26 people dead and 227 others wounded.
The Islamic State group's Saudi affiliate, the so-called Najd Province, claimed the two bombings in Saudi Arabia and the attack in Kuwait. The group has threatened to carry out more attacks in the two countries and also threatened Bahrain.