Shots fired at Marines in Kuwait

2nd such action in week

no one injured, captured


KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait - Gunmen fired at American troops in northern Kuwait early yesterday, the U.S. Embassy here said.

No one was injured in the incident, which came less than a week after a Marine was killed and a second was wounded in an attack by a man professing allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

Kuwait's defense minister, Sheik Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah, told reporters it was too early to say whether yesterday's shooting was a terrorist attack.

According to a spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy, gunmen in two sport utility vehicles approached Marines near a military training area about 7:50 a.m. She said the Marines did not return fire and neither the vehicles nor the assailants have been found.

It was the third shooting incident in less than a week, according to U.S. officials. Wednesday, an American soldier fired a single bullet at a car in northern Kuwait, apparently sensing a threat as troops traveled on a highway. No one was injured.

Al-Qaida's influence among a sliver of Kuwait's young, impressionable Islamic fundamentalists has been blamed for the latest spate of violence. A message purportedly from bin Laden appeared on Islamic Web sites yesterday praising recent terrorist attacks, including last week's shooting here and the possible ramming of a French oil tanker by an explosives-packed boat off the coast of Yemen earlier.

While most of Kuwait's 800,000 citizens are grateful that U.S. troops rescued their country from an Iraqi invasion in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, perceptions that the United States supports Israel's use of force against Palestinian civilians have eroded that goodwill.

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