- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2003

KUWAIT CITY A Kuwaiti civil servant confessed to opening fire on two Americans in Kuwait, killing one and wounding the other, and authorities have found the weapon he used, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.
A Kuwaiti security officer said the suspect, Sami al-Mutairi, 25, was not working alone. The Interior Ministry said he acknowledged following the ideals of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network.
Al-Mutairi was arrested at the border in Saudi Arabia as he tried to flee and was extradited to Kuwait, the ministry said. His weapon and some ammunition were found at his workplace, according to the statement. It did not say where he worked.
"He confessed that he committed the crime of assassinating the American citizen and injuring another," the ministry statement said, adding without explanation that al-Mutairi became a suspect "in the first hours after the crime was committed."
The security officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said al-Mutairi was arrested by Saudi border guards Wednesday. The official said he was a Kuwaiti civil servant and the prime suspect, but that he "had partners, maybe two."
Earlier yesterday, U.S. Embassy spokesman John Moran said the United States hoped investigators would quickly determine whether the assailants "have ties to any larger organization."
"We call on the government to do everything in its power to protect our citizens from terrorist attack and to prevent any further tragedies."
The Interior Ministry statement did not say al-Mutairi was an al Qaeda member, noting only that "he was interrogated and he confessed he adopts the thought of al Qaeda organization."
The shooting was the first assault on U.S. civilians in Kuwait and the third on Americans since October in the oil-rich emirate, where pro-American sentiment is usually strong and where thousands of U.S. troops are assembling for a possible war with Iraq.
In Tuesday's attack, a gunman hiding behind a hedge ambushed the sport utility vehicle carrying two civilian contractors working for the U.S. military. The attack took place at a stoplight about 3 miles from the U.S. military's Camp Doha, which is 10 miles west of Kuwait City.


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