Police in Kuwait have arrested a number of people suspected of being behind the suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque that killed 27 people.

The arrests came just hours after thousands of people took part in a mass funeral procession for those killed in the country's first terror attack in more than two decades.

A local affiliate of the Islamic State group, calling itself the Najd Province, claimed responsibility for the bombing, which took place during midday Friday prayers inside one of Kuwait's oldest Shiite mosques.

IS views Shiites as heretics and is fighting Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria.

Thousands turned out for the funerals of those killed Credit: Reuters

The interior ministry said that one of the suspects arrested is a Kuwaiti man who was using his home as hideout for the others.

Police said another suspect is a 25-year-old from Kuwait's "bidoon" community, which is largely made up of descendants of desert nomads considered stateless by the government.

They have long claimed the government is depriving them of citizenship and rights.

The arrests highlight the threat posed to Western-allied monarchies in the Gulf from young locals lured to the IS group's extremist ideology and its call for supporters to carry out homegrown attacks.

Police did not say how many suspects have been arrested. The government-linked Al-Jarida newspaper reported that seven people had been detained overnight.