- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

KUWAIT CITY, March 22 (UPI) — Thirteen U.S. servicemen from the Army's 101st Airborne Division were injured, several of them seriously, in a grenade and gunfire attack in the tents of Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait Saturday, Joint Command officials confirmed.

A U.S. military spokeswoman said the 13 wounded soldiers were taken to a field hospital for treatment after the 1:30 a.m. attack by "an unknown assailant or assailants."

A U.S. soldier was taken into custody, a reporter embedded with the 101st, Charles Clover of the Financial Times, told CNN. He said he could not say whether the soldier was suspected of taking part or somehow facilitating the attack. The military spokeswoman said she could only say the attack was under investigation.

One civilian witness on the scene told United Press International that two grenades were thrown into two tents after which there was small arms fire in what were believed to be the staff quarters of one of the brigades in the division. At least four soldiers were seriously injured.

There was no immediate confirmation that this was a terrorist attack on the closely guarded camp, some 15 miles outside Kuwait City where most Kuwaitis strongly support the war against Iraq after the brutal invasion of their country in 1991. But there have been previous spasmodic attacks on U.S. servicemen in Kuwait, including sniper fire.

The 101st Airborne is one of the few combat units that still has many troops in Kuwait. The 3rd Infantry Division, the U.S. Marines and the British troops are all deep inside Iraq, having packed their tents and left Kuwait earlier in the week. The vast tented encampments, called Camp Pennsylvania and Camp New Jersey, are increasingly empty, which may have affected the security precautions.

The Joint Command has standing orders for stiff security measures in the camps and training grounds of the 240,000 coalition troops, including naval patrols against suicide boat attacks like the one which damaged the USS Cole in Aden Harbor, Yemen, in October 2001.

(With reporting from Martin Walker in Kuwait City).

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