Al Qaida targeting U.S. military throughout Gulf region

Monday, November 8, 2004

ABU DHABI The U.S. military has been placed on alert throughout the Gulf region for an Islamic insurgency attack.

U.S. officials said the military has determined that Al Qaida or related groups were seeking to attack American military facilities in Gulf Cooperation Council states, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the threat encompasses all six GCC states, particularly Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

"We have arrested terrorists in Oman and the United Arab Emirates," Gen. Lance Smith, deputy chief of U.S. Central Command, said.

In an interview with the London-based Al Hayat daily on Sunday, Smith said Al Qaida continues to plan attacks against the United States. He said such a strike could take place in the United States or against U.S. interests in the Gulf region.

Smith said several Al Qaida plots to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf have been foiled. The general did not elaborate.

Last week, the United States lifted its alert from Qatar, where it had warned Americans of an attack on major hotels in Doha. At the same time, the U.S. embassy in Damascus was closed as officials reviewed security.

Central Command covers Afghanistan, the Gulf region, the Levant as well as Egypt and Sudan. European Command covers most of the African continent.

Smith said Central Command has been helping transport African Union troops to the Sudanese province of Darfour. He said the U.S. airlift of the Nigerian and Rwandan troops to Darfour was completed on Nov. 3.

"We have no intention of deploying [U.S.] troops in this region," Smith said.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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