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Kuwait Says It Foiled More Attacks

The emirate arrests 15 citizens suspected of indirect ties to Al Qaeda after attack on Marines.

October 13, 2002|From Reuters

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait said Saturday that it had foiled attacks against Western targets in the oil-rich state by arresting a group of suspects who had formed a cell with indirect links to Al Qaeda.

Two key members of the cell, who had trained in Al Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan, were killed Tuesday during an attack on U.S. Marines training on a Kuwaiti island, Kuwait said.

The two killed one Marine, Lance Cpl. Antonio J. Sledd, and wounded another in what Kuwait called a "terrorist act."

"We discovered other plots and targets, American and foreign.... We succeeded in foiling what they were planning to do," Interior Minister Sheik Mohammed Khaled al Hamad al Sabah told a news conference.

"If we had not arrived in time ... many other things would have happened."

He said 15 Kuwaiti suspects and an unspecified number of other people had been referred to the public prosecutor's office in an investigation after Tuesday's shootings.

Khaled said the case was now complete. He refused to show confessions or give details of five potential targets to protect national security, but he said blueprints were found with the suspects.

Security sources said the suspects' plans included plots to attack an oil tanker and an entertainment park near the military base used by the U.S. at Camp Doha.

According to Khaled, the defendants said Anas Kandari, one of the two killed during the attack on the Marines, "is their emir and he paid allegiance to [Osama] bin Laden."

"We cannot say for certain about the defendants, [but] they follow their emir," Khaled added.

He said that "we have no proof this cell of 15 ... have links outside of Kuwait."

The two attackers, however, had traveled to Afghanistan and had trained in camps run by Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.

Scores of Muslim Arabs, including Bin Laden, traveled to Afghanistan to join in the struggle against the Soviet occupation of that country in the 1980s.

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