US warns of attacks in Kuwait  


 "There are indications that terrorist groups seek to continue attacks against US interests in the Middle East, including Kuwait," said a State Department message circulated by the US embassy. "American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

The message also advised Americans living or travelling in Kuwait to register with the embassy. The message said extremists might be conducting surveillance on Westerners, particularly at hotels, housing areas and rental car facilities. Potential targets might include US contractors, particularly those related to military interests, as well as financial or economic venues of value.

Last week, Kuwait said it foiled an attack by suspected Al-Qaeda militants on the main US military base in the state, the first such incident in four years. Security forces arrested six Kuwaitis who were planning to attack Camp Arifjan, state security offices and other government buildings, the interior ministry said. Kuwait’s public prosecution has been interrogating the suspects, and local media have spoken of links to long-time Kuwaiti fugitive Mohsen Al-Fadhli.

In Washington, a US Defense Department spokesman confirmed that US forces in Kuwait were targeted for attack but said it was unclear if the suspects were linked to Al-Qaeda or that they planned to strike at Camp Arifjan. About 15,000 US soldiers are stationed in Kuwait, which is also used as a transit point for thousands of US troops going to and from neighboring Iraq.

There are roughly 50,000 Western civilians living and working in Kuwait, including Americans, Europeans and Australians. In the last incident involving Al-Qaeda-linked militants, suspects accused of plotting to attack US forces in the state and in Iraq were involved in a deadly gunfight with Kuwaiti forces in January 2005.

In 2007, a Kuwaiti court commuted death sentences against four members of the Peninsula Lions Brigades – a militant outfit affiliated with Al-Qaeda – to life in prison. They four had been sentenced over the gun battles, in which four policemen and eight militants, including two Saudis, died. Kuwait is one of the world’s leading oil producers. The OPEC member state sits on around 10 percent of global crude reserves and pumps 2.2 million barrels per day.

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