KUWAIT, Sept 1(Reuters) - Kuwait has charged 26 people with possessing weapons and having contacts with Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah group in order to plot attacks against the Gulf state.
The case relates to the seizure of an arms cache in Kuwait last month which local newspapers have reported was smuggled in from Iran.
State news agency KUNA, quoting a statement from the public prosecutor's office, said that 25 of the suspects were Kuwaiti citizens and one was Iranian. Three of the suspects were at large and the others were ordered to be detained indefinitely.
Ties between Iran and its Gulf Arab neighbours are strained by suspicions that Tehran is trying to extend its influence into Arab countries including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Kuwait has been on alert since a suicide bomber killed 27 people in an attack on a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in the capital, Kuwait City, on June 26.
The statement said 24 of the suspects were accused of committing acts likely to affect Kuwait's unity and security.
They were also charged with contacting Iran and Hezbollah to carry out hostile acts and stockpiling explosives, automatic weapons, ammunition and listening devices.
Twenty two suspects were charged with training in the use of firearms and explosives. An unspecified number were charged with "joining and calling to join Hezbollah," which it said sought to undermine the ruling system by force.
Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy, writing by Sami Aboudi, editing by Angus MacSwan