Shootout in Kuwait's Capital; 5 Dead

Kuwaiti security forces stormed a building in a residential part of the capital and exchanged gunfire with suspected terrorists on Sunday, killing three in a battle that also left a security officer and a Bahraini bystander dead, state television reported.

The clash was the third battle this month between security forces and suspected militants. Kuwait (search), a major ally of the United States (search), has been battling some fundamentalists who oppose the presence of the American military in their country.

One suspect was arrested in the operation, according to state-owned Kuwaiti Television. Three suspected militants, a Kuwait security officer and a Bahraini man who lived in the building where the attack took place were killed, according to the report. The man was a bystander.

The clash took place in Kuwait City's Salmiyah neighborhood, where many foreign residents live. Residents heard gunfire for several minutes and saw police cordon off the area.

The report said the clash had ended but that police were still combing the residential neighborhood for suspects.

Earlier this month, police engaged in two clashes with armed militants that led to the deaths of two suspects and two policemen.

Authorities have arrested more than 25 Kuwaiti and Saudi terror suspects since the Jan. 10. Seven of them, including a woman, have been referred to the prosecution for planning terrorist attacks or failing to report such plans to the police.

On Saturday, the American Embassy reiterated a warning to Americans, saying that "the possibility exists of further violent clashes" as security officials pursued those involved in the shootouts.

A message posted on the embassy web site also said terrorists may "seek softer targets such as public transportation, and public areas where people congregate."

The messages were the latest in several security-related messages from the embassy in January.

On Jan. 10, a Kuwaiti fundamentalist and two policemen were killed in a clash in a Kuwait City suburb. Five days later, a Saudi fundamentalist was killed in a shootout at Umm al-Haiman, a town near the Saudi border.

Kuwait has had close ties with Washington since a U.S.-led coalition liberated it in 1991 from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. The country was the launch pad for 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, and it is still a logistics stop for U.S. troops serving there.

Since 2002 fundamentalists have carried out attacks against Americans, killing one U.S. Marine and a civilian American military contractor.