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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 17:08 GMT
New Kuwait law to curb militants
Kuwaiti paramilitary police at scene of gunfight, Sunday
Clashes with militants have claimed several lives in January
The Kuwaiti parliament has passed a law giving the authorities wide-ranging new powers to seek out and seize illegal firearms.

The move follows gun battles this month between security force and suspected Islamic militants.

Once approved, the new law will be in force for a year and then renewable.

State TV reported on Monday that four Islamist militants were killed in a clash with police in the al-Qurain area, south of the capital.

Reports say the new law makes it easier for police to obtain warrants to search a private house for illegal weapons, and will allow women inspectors to search women's quarters in private homes.

Also on Monday, relatives of a suspected militant, Amer al-Enezi, who was captured after the gun battle on Monday, have released a statement distancing themselves from his actions.

The relatives said they joined all Kuwaitis in safeguarding stability in the country and added that Mr Enezi and his followers should be relegated to what they called the dustbin of history for their acts.

Five police officers were said to have been hurt in Monday's fighting, which was sparked by a raid on a house.

Embassy warnings

On Sunday, three suspected militants and one policeman were killed in a shoot-out in Kuwait City, where Western embassies have warned of new attacks.

Earlier in January, four people died in clashes between security forces and alleged al-Qaeda-linked militants who oppose the presence of Western civilians and US soldiers in the oil-rich Gulf state.

More than 25 Kuwaiti and Saudi suspects have since been arrested and accused of planning attacks on Western targets.

US and Western embassies have told their citizens to be on guard against attacks.

Kuwait is a major oil producer and US ally. A military base in the territory serves as a logistics centre for US troops operating in neighbouring Iraq.

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