American marine on manoeuvres in Kuwait is killed by terrorist attack

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The Independent Online

Gunmen killed an American marine and wounded a second in a terrorist attack on a military exercise in Kuwait yesterday.

Gunmen killed an American marine and wounded a second in a terrorist attack on a military exercise in Kuwait yesterday.

The attackers, two Kuwaitis in civilian clothes, were shot dead by US forces. The gunmen, driving a pick-up truck, approached a group of US soldiers and opened fire with automatic weapons.

US forces killed the attackers as they drove off, apparently to attack a second group of marines. The attack waspremeditated, diplomatic sources said.

The two men were identified last night as Kuwaitis: Anas al-Kandari, born in 1981, and Jassem al-Hajiri, born in 1976. According to one unconfirmed report, they were cousins who had three relatives held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. A statement issued by the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said: "The ministry announces that this is a terrorist act. It will not allow anyone to undermine the country's security." Washington will be concerned at the vulnerability of Western targets in the Middle East.On Sunday, a French oil tanker was holed by an explosion off the coast of Yemen in what increasingly appears to be a terrorist attack.

The soldiers attacked yesterday were part of a force of about 1,000 from the 11 Marine Expeditionary Unit, taking part in Exercise Eager Mace, an annual operation with Kuwaiti forces. The two victims were flown to the Camp Doha Armed Forces Hospital, where one of them died. The second marine is understood to have been shot in the arm.

The attack took place on Faylaka Island, about 10 miles off the coast of Kuwait City. Although the exercise was part of joint United States-Kuwait training, the gunmen struck while the marines were taking part in urban assault training that involved only US forces, the spokesman said.

The marines were evacuated from the island yesterday as a precaution and officials said they did not know whether the four-week exercise would resume. Kuwait is believed to be home to many al-Qa'ida members. Muslim fundamentalists are politically strong in the country.

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