U.S. Marines begin major exercise in Kuwait

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

ABU DHABI The U.S. military has launched its first major military exercise in Kuwait since the war in Iraq. The U.S. Marines began a month-long exercise over the weekend on the Kuwaiti island of Bubiyan.

The marines will engage in a series of maneuvers that will involve live fire, Kuwaiti sources said. They said this will include a beach landing. A Kuwaiti military statement urged people to stay away from the island. The statement said the exercise will end on June 24.

"Kuwaiti nationals that had planned to spend their vacations in those regions, or fishermen working in those areas of Kuwait's coastal waters, are requested not to approach until June 24, 2003," the military statement said.

The statement said the marines would conduct the exercise in Kuwaiti territorial waters on the western side of the Bubiyan island and in the Khour Al Sabiya channel. The area has been closed by the military since early March on the eve of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported.

Last week, Kuwaiti sources said the military would begin to reopen areas of the sheikdom closed because of the war in Iraq. Kuwait closed 25 percent of its territory to civilians on the eve of the war in Iraq and parliament has pressed the government to reopen some of the areas in time for summer vacation.

The move is part of its semi-annual exercise in the sheikdom.

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