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Sunday, August 28, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Rockets fired from Iraq at Kuwait port site
near border

ABU DHABI — Kuwait has been struck by a rocket attack from Iraq for the first time since 2003.


Officials said at least three rockets were fired from Iraq and struck the Kuwaiti border on Aug. 26. Iraq said the rockets were fired toward a former U.S. military base, but Kuwait's military confirmed the strike near the new port at Mubarak Al Kabir.

The rocket strike marked the first time in decades in which a U.S. ally attacked another American friend. The U.S. military, which trains Baghdad's military, has 46,000 troops in Iraq and tens of thousands of forces in neighboring Kuwait, Middle East Newsline reported.

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The attack took place after warnings by the Iraqi government for Kuwait to terminate its $1 billion project to build a port at Mubarak Al Kabir, located on the Bubiyan island near the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

The Iranian-sponsored Shi'ite militia, Hizbullah Brigades, had threatened to fire rockets from Iraq toward the unfinished Kuwaiti port.

"We were expecting hostilities and have our forces were ready," an official said.

This marked the first Iraqi attack on Kuwait since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. During the brief war, the regime of then-President Saddam Hussein fired medium-range rockets and Scud variants into the Gulf Cooperation Council state.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry has sought to play down the attack, said to have stemmed from Basra. The ministry has denied reports that Kuwait violated Iraqi sovereignty.

"We are keen on pursuing constructive cooperation with the brothers in Iraq with a view to cement ties between the two countries," a Kuwaiti official said.

Kuwait has reported a military buildup along the border with Iraq. Officials said the Interior Ministry has been reinforcing the border fence as well as a checkpoint along the Iraqi frontier while the Defense Ministry planned to build a landing pad for helicopters.

"We and our sons, who vowed loyalty and readiness to sacrifice for the homeland and his highness the emir, are able to protect Kuwait from any ground or sea attack on its lands." Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah said on Aug. 27.

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