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Middle east

Kuwait 'foils al Qaeda attack' on US base


Latest update : 2009-08-11

Kuwait's interior ministry says it has arrested six suspected al Qaeda members believed to have been plotting an attack against a large US base on Kuwaiti territory.

AFP - Kuwait said on Tuesday it has foiled an attack by suspected Al-Qaeda members on the main US military base on its territory and arrested six nationals over their alleged role in the plot.

The six Kuwaitis were also planning to attack state security offices and other government buildings, according to an interior ministry statement.

About 15,000 US soldiers are stationed in Kuwait, the oil-rich Gulf emirate which is also used as a transit point for thousands of US soldiers going to and from neighbouring Iraq.

The suspects are being interrogated over the plot to attack Camp Arifjan, which lies in the desert south of the Kuwaiti capital close to the Saudi border, the ministry said.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television said the attack was planned to be carried out during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on around August 20.

"Security forces were able to dismantle a terrorist network of six nationals belonging to Al-Qaeda that was planning to bomb Arifjan camp, state security headquarters and other buildings," the interior ministry statement said.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants accused of plotting to attack US forces in the emirate and in Iraq were involved in a deadly gunfight with Kuwaiti troops in 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 over the gunbattles that killed four policemen and eight militants, including two Saudis.

The latest Qaeda plot was revealed just days after a visit to Washington by Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, who met US President Barack Obama at the White House on August 3.

Obama visited Camp Arifjan in July 2008, before becoming president the following January, after his predecessor George W. Bush made a trip there in January last year.

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.

It has a native population of just under 1.1 million, in addition to 2.35 million foreign residents.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, battled a wave of attacks by the terror network from 2003-2006, and close to 1,000 people have been charged.

Date created : 2009-08-11