- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2003

From combined dispatches
The Army soldier accused of killing one comrade and wounding 15 others in a grenade attack yesterday morning (local time) is a Muslim who opposes the war to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to a U.S. military source in Kuwait.
"He's a Muslim, and it seems he was just against the war," the military source, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters news agency.
The soldier was identified as Sgt. Asan Akbar of the 326th Engineer Battalion. He was detained shortly after the attack early yesterday morning at a tented command center in Kuwait.
Military criminal investigators said Sgt. Akbar was recently reprimanded for insubordination and was told he would not join his unit's push into Iraq, CNN reported.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, identified the soldier killed as Army Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, 27. The news release said no home of record was available for Capt. Seifert, who was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Fort Campbell spokesman George Heath said Sgt. Akbar had not been charged with any crime. Mr. Heath said only that Sgt. Akbar had been "having what some might call an attitude problem."
Max Blumenfeld, a U.S. Army spokesman in Kuwait, said the motive in the attack "most likely was resentment."
Sgt. Akbar was born Mark Fidel Kools. Quran Bilal, who said she is his mother, told the Tennessean of Nashville that she changed her son's name to Hasan Akbar after she remarried when he was a young boy.
The FBI combed Sgt. Akbar's apartment complex in Clarksville, Tenn., yesterday, looking for clues, the Leaf-Chronicle newspaper in Clarksville reported.
Murder is a capital offense according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice under any circumstances. However, knowingly endangering a mission is an aggravating factor justifying a death sentence, and the military punishes all wartime and battlefield offenses far more severely.
Brigade commander Col. Ben Hodges, who suffered a slight flesh wound in the attack, said one grenade was rolled into each of three tents at the command area at Camp Pennsylvania, the Kuwait base for the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.
One grenade went off in the command tent, Mr. Blumenfeld said. The tent, the tactical operations center, runs 24 hours a day and would always be staffed by officers and senior enlisted personnel.
Among the 15 soldiers injured, 10 had superficial wounds, including punctures to their arms and legs from grenade fragments, Mr. Heath said.
Names of the injured, three of whom were described as seriously wounded, also were not released, and the Army did not say whether high-ranking officers were hurt.
Initially, the military suspected the attack was the work of terrorists using grenades and small-arms fire, Mr. Heath said. Two Middle Eastern men who had been hired as contractors were detained and released.
"When this all happened, we tried to get accountability for everybody," Col. Hodges told Britain's Sky News television. "We noticed four hand grenades were missing and that this sergeant was unaccounted for."
Sgt. Akbar was found hiding in a bunker, Col. Hodges said.
"Incidents of this nature are abnormalities throughout the Army, specifically in the 101st," Mr. Heath said. "Death is a tragic incident regardless of how it comes, but when it comes from a fellow comrade, it does even more to hurt morale."

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