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Al Qaida sleeper cell suspects captured in Kuwait

Wedesday, February 26, 2003

ABU DHABI Kuwait has announced the capture of another insurgency cell that targeted U.S. troops in the sheikdom.

Officials said the suspects were aligned with Al Qaida and comprised a sleeper cell for the organization. They said at least one of the suspects underwent training in an Al Qaida camp in Afghanistan.

The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry identified the suspects as Ahmed Mutlaq Al Mutairi, 29, Abdullah Mutlaq Al Mutairi, 32, Musaed Horan Al Enezi, 28, Middle East Newsline reported.

The suspects were accused of coordinating with a five-member Al Qaida cell to carry out a series of attacks on U.S. troops and military interests, officials said.

They said the attacks were meant to disrupt U.S. troop deployment along the northern border with Iraq.

"They were planning to kill as many U.S. soldiers as possible," a Kuwaiti security source said.

Ahmed Al Mutairi was said to have trained in Afghanistan. His brother, Abdullah, is a former member of the Kuwaiti military.

The statement said authorities found weapons and ammunition in possession of the cell. Two U.S. nationals, one of them a soldier, have been killed in attacks linked to Al Qaida since October. There are more than 70,000 U.S. troops in Kuwait.

"The three Kuwaitis were preparing plans to carry out terrorist attacks against American forces in the country," the statement, carried by the official Kuwaiti news agency, said.

On Tuesday, Kuwait imposed a higher level of alert to prepare for the prospect of a war against Iraq. Authorities set the alert at Level 3, just short of the outbreak of war.

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