KUWAIT CITY – Kuwaiti authorities announced Tuesday they have arrested an Al Qaeda-linked group that was planning to attack a key U.S. military base in the small oil-rich state.
The Interior Ministry said in a brief statement that State Security detained a "terrorist network" of six Kuwaitis who gave "detailed confessions" about plans to bomb Camp Arifjan, the main U.S. base in the country, as well as the headquarters of the country's security agency, in addition to other facilities it did not name.
The statement did not provide any details. However, Kuwait's Alrai daily quoted anonymous security sources on Tuesday that the group had confessed to buying a truck which it intended to load with fertilizer, chemicals and gas cylinders and ram into the camp.
It was unlikely the attack on the vast American logistics and supply facility in the desert south of Kuwait City would have been successful due to high security.
Kuwait has been a close U.S. ally since the Washington-led 1991 Gulf War that liberated it from a seven-month Iraqi occupation under Saddam Hussein.
But militants in the country oppose the U.S. military presence and have attacked American troops and civilians working for them in the past.
In October 2002, two Kuwaiti extremists opened fire on U.S. Marines training on Failaka island, killing one and injuring another. In January 2003, a fundamentalist civil servant killed an American contractor and severely wounded another when he ambushed their car near a U.S. army camp.
Six Kuwaitis and stateless Arabs are serving life sentences after being convicted in 2007 of planning attacks on U.S. troops and Kuwaiti security personnel. They were part of a group arrested after unprecedented street clashes with militants in 2005.