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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

Kuwaiti Who Shot 2 U.S. Soldiers Gets 15-Year Term

March 06, 2003|From Associated Press

KUWAIT CITY — A judge on Wednesday sentenced a police officer to 15 years in prison for seriously wounding two American soldiers in Kuwait, where thousands of U.S. troops are deployed in preparation for a possible war on neighboring Iraq.

The judge said the sentence was intended to deter anyone else who might think of harming Americans.

"This is not fair, your honor!" defendant Khaled Shimmiri, 20, shouted from the dock. Shimmiri, under psychiatric care for months before the attack, had pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.

Master Sgt. Larry Thomas, 51, and Sgt. Charles Ellis, 27, reservists from Lake Charles, La., were driving on a desert highway Nov. 21 when Shimmiri, in a patrol car, flagged them down, ostensibly for speeding, and shot them. Prosecutors had asked for life in prison, the harshest possible sentence.

The shooting came amid growing anti-American sentiment in this small oil-rich ally of Washington.

Shimmiri is not known to have any connections with Muslim fundamentalists. In October, Muslim extremists killed a U.S. Marine and injured another as they trained on a Kuwaiti island in the Persian Gulf. More recently, Islamic radicals were blamed in a shooting in the emirate that left one American civilian dead and another wounded. Both victims had been working for the U.S. military.

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