Kuwait expels 14 suspected members of Hezbollah

Kuwait expels 11 Lebanese and three Iraqis, following decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Ben Ariel ,

Hezbollah terrorist with missile
Hezbollah terrorist with missile

Kuwait has expelled 11 Lebanese and three Iraqis suspected of belonging to Hezbollah, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a Kuwaiti newspaper.

The move comes nearly three weeks after Kuwait joined other Gulf Arab states in designating the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

The local Al-Qabas newspaper cited a security source as saying the 14 people had been expelled at the request of the state security service. The Interior Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) named Hezbollah, an Iranian-allied group that is fighting alongside President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria's civil war, a terrorist group on March 2.

The GCC, which groups six Sunni-ruled states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar - had already imposed sanctions on Hezbollah in 2013.

The Arab League followed with a similar move and designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization on March 11. Lebanon and Iraq abstained in that vote.

Al-Qabas said Kuwait's state security body had prepared a list of "unwanted" Lebanese and Iraqis, including advisers to major companies, for deportation "in the public interest" in the wake of the blacklist.

Saudi Arabia has also said it would punish anyone who belongs to Hezbollah, sympathizes with it, supports it financially or harbors any of its members following the blacklist.

At the time of the GCC decision, noted Reuters, its Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani accused Hezbollah of recruiting young men to carry out terrorist attacks in Gulf states, smuggling in weapons and explosives, and inciting chaos, violence and political unrest.

Hezbollah called the GCC decision "reckless and hostile" and blamed it on Saudi Arabia.

Iran also expressed great outrage over the designation of Hezbollah and said, "Those who call Hezbollah terrorists, have intentionally or unintentionally targeted the unity and security of Lebanon."