12 Aug 2009

Bomb plot against US base reported in Kuwait

6:16 am on 12 August 2009

Kuwait says it has foiled a plot by a group linked to al-Qaeda to bomb a United States military base and other facilities in the emirate.

The interior ministry says all six members of a terrorist cell confessed after being arrested.

The statement said they also planned to bomb the headquarters of Kuwait's internal security agency.

It did not say whether the targets included oil industry plants. Kuwait is the fourth-largest exporter of oil in the world.

Al-Arabiya television said the group was plotting the attack for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on about 20 August.

The main US base in Kuwait is Camp Arifjan, south of Kuwait City. It houses 15,000 US soldiers and is used as a logistics base for troops serving in Iraq.

The base was established after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The occupation lasted seven months before the Iraqis were driven out in the First Gulf War.

The BBC reports Kuwaiti opinions are divided when it comes to their country's close alliance with the United States.

Older Kuwaitis remain grateful to the US for saving their country. But some younger Kuwaitis see the US in hostile terms, as invaders and occupiers of Iraq, as a friend of Israel and as an enemy to Muslims.

In 2005, Kuwaiti security forces broke up an al-Qaeda-linked cell said to be plotting attacks.

Previous attacks against Americans in Kuwait include an incident in October 2002, when two Kuwaitis opened fire on US Marines, killing one.

The following year, a civil servant killed an American contractor and severely wounded another when he ambushed their car near a US army camp.

Six Kuwaitis and stateless Arabs were sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for planning attacks on US troops and Kuwaiti security personnel.