KUWAIT CITY – An American man was killed Tuesday and another critically wounded when they came under fire near a U.S. military base in Kuwait, U.S. officials said.
U.S. and Kuwaiti officials believe one gunman was responsible for the attack on the four-wheel drive Toyota vehicle the two Americans were driving. The incident is being characterized by the U.S. embassy and others as a terrorist attack.
Both victims were civilian contractors working for the U.S. military in Kuwait. The U.S. Embassy identified the man killed as Michael Rene Pouliot, 46, of San Diego.
The wounded man's identity was being withheld because next of kin had not yet been notified. Both men suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
Their Toyota was ambushed and riddled with bullets at a stoplight on Highway 85 near Camp Doha, a military installation serving as a base for 17,000 troops in the oil-rich Gulf nation.
Fox News has learned that the two men were working for Tapestry Solutions, a software development company based in San Diego, which specializes in military modeling and simulation training tools. The men were heading from Camp Doha to another military installation, Camp Arifjan. They were installing computers in both locations.
"We condemn this terrorist incident, which has tragically cost the life of an innocent American citizen," U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Richard Jones said in a statement.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The shooter, who fired from behind roadside bushes, was not identified.
The wounded man, who was shot in the leg and shoulder, was in stable condition Thursday after undergoing surgery at Kuwait City's Al-Razi hospital. A hospital staff member who spoke on condition of anonymity said his injuries were serious but not life-threatening.
Doctors including a heart surgeon removed bullets from the man's body — two from his chest. The man also had fractures in his right arm and thigh.
One Kuwaiti security official agreed with the American assessment of the shooting as a terrorist act.
Kuwait's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheik Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, sent a condolence message to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He expressed "sincere regret" and Kuwait's "strong condemnation of such criminal acts that target the historic relations and strong ties between the two friendly nations," the official Kuwait News Agency reported.
A U.S. Embassy official said the embassy was reviewing security in Kuwait with the State Department and would share its recommendations with the American community.
"We're urging Americans to be alert to their surroundings and to continually assess their security," he said on condition of anonymity.
Fox News has learned that officials at the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs are considering changing the warning to Americans about traveling or living in Kuwait and the surrounding area due to Tuesday's attack.
The attack took place north of Kuwait City, along the edge of a built-up neighborhood with a McDonald's and other businesses. The road leads to Camp Doha, about three miles away, and is lined with trees and bushes with open desert behind.
A Kuwaiti investigator said that an attacker fired a Kalashnikov assault rifle from behind the bushes, then fled. Al-Dossari also confirmed that the weapon used was a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle.
The area was cordoned off with yellow crime tape. The Toyota was loaded on to a flatbed truck and taken away.
Kuwaiti police, U.S. military police and black-clad Interior Ministry investigators wearing rubber gloves were all at the scene. The pavement was littered with broken glass.
"We have full confidence that the Kuwaiti authorities will pursue the investigation of this incident vigorously and professionally," Jones said in the statement.
The White House said Tuesday it was working with Kuwaiti authorities to find those responsible for the shootings.
"We will work closely with Kuwaiti authorities to determine who is behind it," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "There's nothing to report definitely at this time and the president's heart goes out to the families who are affected by this attack.
"It's a reminder of the danger and the risk that our servicemen and -women face every day in service to our country."
Kuwait is critical to any U.S. invasion of Iraq because of its location at Iraq's southern border.
Many Kuwaitis are grateful for the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi invaders out of their country in the 1991 Gulf War. But, the support isn't universal. Americans have come under attack in Kuwait in recent months.
A U.S. Marine was killed and a second was wounded Oct. 8 when two Kuwaiti Muslim extremists opened fire on a group of Marines taking a break from training. The attackers were killed by other Marines.
On Nov. 21, a Kuwaiti policeman shot and seriously injured two U.S. soldiers after stopping their car on a highway.
Kuwaiti Parliament Speaker Jassem al-Kharafi told reporters that Tuesday's shooting was "an act of an individual that doesn't represent the opinion of the Kuwaiti people."
He added: "There have been similar incidents in the past and there might be more in the future by saboteurs, intruders and ignorant people." Al-Kharafi said such shootings could take place anywhere and "we are not a country of angels."
Kuwait is the only country in the Gulf where large numbers of American ground troops are assembling and engaged in training for desert warfare.
Tens of thousands more U.S. and British troops are expected to flood Kuwait in anticipation of a possible war against Iraq.
The United States is sending a specially tailored force of about 37,000 soldiers, spearheaded by the Texas-based 4th Infantry Division — the largest ground force identified so far among the nearly 100,000 U.S. troops included in deployment.
In Cairo, Egypt, visiting Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal said Saudi Arabia hopes the attack wouldn't harm the close Kuwaiti-U.S. relationship.
"This is very unfortunate and we are sending our condolences to the American Administration and his [the victim's] family," Prince Saud said.
Reuters news agency reported that many Kuwaitis condemned Tuesday's killing but acknowledged that the heavy U.S. military presence in their country and U.S. policy towards Israel was fueling disquiet.
"If someone has a problem [with the U.S.], they should discuss it in a peaceful way and not grab a gun," said teacher Waleed al-Mullah. "This dismaying act harms Kuwait."
Analysts said Kuwaiti hatred of Saddam doesn't necessarily translate into unquestioning support for the United States. They said only small isolated groups were likely to turn misgivings into violence.
"Angry anti-Western attacks by individuals are a minor factor in Kuwait, which would be happy to see Saddam Hussein go," said Shafeeq Ghabra, director of the Center for Strategic and Future Studies, a Kuwaiti think tank.
Fox News' Adam Housley and Teri Schultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.