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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 13:05 GMT
US soldiers ambushed in Kuwait
US soldier on exercise in Kuwait
Kuwait would be a natural spring-board for invading Iraq
A policeman with mental health problems was responsible for an attack in which two American soldiers were shot and wounded in Kuwait, a Kuwaiti officials have said.

The two soldiers were shot as they were travelling between the Camp Doha military base on the northern outskirts of Kuwait City and the southern town of Arifjan on Thursday morning.

Both were taken to a military hospital in Kuwait with serious wounds, but their lives are not thought to be in danger, the US military said.

The US has about 10,000 troops stationed in Kuwait undertaking annual war games near the Iraqi border.

One American soldier was killed and another wounded in October when two Kuwaitis opened fire on them, and there have been reports of shots being fired at troops on other occasions recently.

'Totally worried'

One of the soldiers shot on Thursday has a facial wound and the other a wound to the shoulder, the US military said, but neither injury is life-threatening.

A senior official at Kuwait's foreign ministry, Khalid al-Jarallah, said the latest attack was being investigated by both Kuwaiti police and the US Criminal Investigation Command.


We hope... this is an isolated action

Khalid al-Jarallah
Kuwaiti foreign ministry
He warned against interpreting the attack - believed to be the fifth shooting involving US forces in the country since October - as part of a pattern but said Kuwait was "totally worried" by the attack.

"We really condemn the action and we hope that, again, this is an isolated action," Mr al-Jarallah told the French news agency AFP.

The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Paul Wood, notes that Kuwait is perhaps America's most dependable ally in the Arab world.

It relies on the United States for protection and in turn is expected to be the launching pad for any ground war to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Whilst the Kuwaiti authorities say that radical Islamists opposed to the US presence represent only a tiny minority of the population, their activities have been a significant security worry for the American military, our correspondent writes.

Kuwait is believed to have arrested a number of suspected members of the al-Qaeda Islamic militant group since the capture there earlier in November of 21-year-old Mohsen al-Fadhli, alleged to be a leader of the group.


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20 Nov 02 | Middle East
09 Oct 02 | Middle East
22 Nov 02 | Middle East
08 Nov 02 | Country profiles
08 Nov 02 | Country profiles
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