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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

Inspectors Say Marines Cut Fence Illegally

March 07, 2003|From Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. peacekeepers recently spotted armed U.S. Marines around a fence between Kuwait and Iraq and believe that the Marines cut through it, an act that was reported to the Security Council on Thursday as a possible violation of international law.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said peacekeepers who monitor a demilitarized zone set up after the 1991 Persian Gulf War have reported "numerous violations" since March 4 "by personnel in civilian clothes in four-wheel-drive vehicles, at least some of whom were armed and identified themselves as U.S. Marines."

U.S. diplomats had no immediate comment.

According to Eckhard, peacekeepers noticed that three breaches had been cut in an electric fence Kuwait erected after a U.S.-led coalition forced Iraqi troops out of the emirate in 1991. Although the peacekeepers didn't see the Marines cut the fence, they said they believed the troops did so.

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