Joined: Sep 2002
Three killed in Hawally shootout
KUWAIT By Hanan Al-Saadoun & Agencies:
Kuwaiti security forces fatally wounded a wanted militant yesterday in a deadly shootout in which two policemen were killed amid a US security alert, the interior ministry said. The militant, named as Fawaz Talaiq Al-Otaibi, died in hospital after the shootout which erupted as security men came to arrest him in Maidan Hawally, said an interior ministry statement. The dead policemen were identified as First Lieutenant Hamid Rashid Al-Ayyub and First Sergeant Ayman Al-Rushud. Two other policemen were wounded in the fire fight which came as the US embassy warned its nationals that militants at large in a black car could "randomly attack Westerners" in the state. Plainclothes police tried to arrest Otaibi as he went to return a rented car in Maidan Hawally. "The suspect fired at police and then fled to a car where a group of his friends were waiting ... One of the men in the car shot at the police killing two and wounding two others," the interior ministry said. Otaibi, believed to be an extremist Islamist, was arrested on the spot while militants in the car drove away and were being hunted by police, the ministry said. The injured policemen and Otaibi were taken to the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital. The area around the hospital was cordoned off. Later, Kuwait Television reported Otaibi's death. The reports did not specify what the men were wanted for, nor if any others had been arrested along with Otaibi. Interior Minister Sheikh Nawwaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah told state television he had visited the injured policemen, who were in stable condition at the hospital. He said Otaibi had entered a car rental shop to return a vehicle when police attempted to capture him. The minister said Otaibi and his friends in the car used pistols to shoot at police. Rumours quickly flew around the country, with parents calling children and telling them to avoid Hawally and Maidan Hawally.
The US embassy warned its citizens yesterday that assailants in a black car driving around Kuwait planned to "randomly attack Westerners", in a message posted on the embassy website. "The embassy is issuing this urgent message because it has received credible information that an individual or individuals moving about Kuwait in a black coloured small sedan intend to randomly attack Westerners," the message said. A security official told AFP that the militants' car was the same as the one mentioned in the US warning. Three men were on board when the vehicle drove off, the source said. "Americans who encounter suspicious vehicles matching this description should quickly but safely move away and contact the Kuwaiti police emergency number at 777," it added. The embassy called on "all US citizens to exercise caution, maintain a low profile, and avoid areas where Westerners are known to congregate". It reminded American citizens "of the potential for further terrorist actions against US citizens abroad", including in the Gulf region. Earlier yesterday, Kuwait began to ease tight security measures introduced almost two weeks ago when the state raised its state of alert almost to the maximum in the biggest show of force since the March 2003 launch of the US-led war in Iraq.
A Kuwaiti army spokesman said last Thursday that two Kuwaiti soldiers were to stand trial on suspicion of plotting attacks on US and other foreign forces in the country, which served as the main launch pad for the war. The US embassy warned on December 15 it had "credible information that terrorist groups" were preparing to carry out attacks in the state in the near future. Around Christmas, the US State Department said it had information that terrorist groups were developing plans for possible attacks in the state, which is a major ally of Washington. Earlier this month, Kuwait stepped up security at road junctions, near hotels, embassies and oil installations following a number of threats.
US forces and civilians in Kuwait have been the target of a number of attacks, two of them fatal. Around 25,000 US soldiers are stationed in Kuwait, which is used as a transit point for US and other coalition troops headed for Iraq. Some 12,000 American civilians live in Kuwait alongside around 9,000 Europeans and some 1,000 Australians.
source: Kuwait Times, 11 Jan 2005
Aboo Sufyaan 'Uthmaan Beecher
أبو سفيان عثمان بيشر الأمريكي