Over 2,000 Saudis fighting abroad

Filipina jailed for joining IS

KUWAIT/RIYADH: A Kuwaiti court yesterday sentenced a Filipino woman to 10 years in jail after convicting her of joining the Islamic State militant group and plotting attacks. The ruling, which is not final, also calls for deporting the 32-year old after serving her term. The woman was arrested in August, two months after arriving in the state to work as a domestic helper. At the time, the interior ministry said she had confessed to being a member of the Islamic State group and was plotting terrorist attacks in the state.

The woman told interrogators that her husband was an active fighter with IS in Libya and he had asked her to come to Kuwait from the Philippines as a domestic helper, according to the ministry. An IS-affiliated group in the Philippines has conducted a string of bombings as well as kidnappings for ransom of foreign tourists and Christian missionaries in the country.

Kuwaiti courts have sentenced to various jail terms a number of members, sympathizers and financiers of the IS group. In October, Kuwait police arrested an Egyptian driver suspected of being a member of the IS, after he rammed a garbage truck into a pick-up carrying five Americans. Authorities in July said they had dismantled three IS cells plotting attacks, including a suicide bombing against a Shiite mosque and against an interior ministry target. An IS-linked suicide bomber killed 26 worshippers in June last year when he blew himself up in a Shiite mosque, in the worst such attack in the state's history.

Separately, more than 2,000 Saudis are fighting abroad with jihadist groups, with over 70 percent of them in Syria, the kingdom's interior ministry was reported as saying yesterday. "The number of Saudis proven to be in conflict areas is 2,093," interior ministry spokesman General Mansour Al-Turki told daily newspaper Al-Hayat. He said that 1,540 of them were in Syria, where militants have flocked since the Islamic State group seized control of vast areas in mid-2014.

Another 147 were in Yemen, which is the base of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the global terror network. Another 31 were believed to be in Afghanistan or Pakistan, Turki said. Only five were believed to be in neighboring Iraq, where IS also seized significant territory in 2014. Turki said 73 Saudis had also been detained abroad "on charges related to acts of terrorism". - Agencies