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Wednesday, January 12, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Kuwait coast guard challenges, sinks Iraq boat

ABU DHABI — Kuwait reports that its coast guard clashed with the crew of an Iraqi fishing boat in the northern Gulf.


Officials said the Kuwait Coast Guard intercepted and boarded an Iraqi boat that entered the waters of the Gulf Cooperation Council sheikdom on Jan. 10. The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said a Kuwaiti officer was killed in the operation.

"The Iraqi sailors were arrested," the Interior Ministry said.

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The Kuwaiti ministry did not identify the Iraqi vessel, but officials later said it was a fishing boat. They said Kuwait Coast Guard radars detected the incoming Iraqi ship and ordered it to halt, Middle East Newsline reported.

"They did not comply, and consequently members of the Coast Guard used force to stop the boat," the ministry said.

Officials said the Iraqi vessel was sunk and that some of the sailors jumped rather than undergo arrest by Kuwait. They said the Iraq Navy rescued five members of the fishing crew.

Kuwait has long complained of Iraqi sea and land infiltration of the GCC state. Last year, Baghdad and Kuwait City reached agreement on border security cooperation that included the relocation of Iraqi residents.

"The Iraqi government expresses its regret for the death of a member of the Kuwait Coast Guard personnel, and the Iraqi government has begun an investigation with five Iraqi sailors who were rescued by naval forces of Iraq," Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said on Jan. 11.

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