x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Kuwait foils plan to attack refinery

Al Qa'eda planned to attack Kuwait's Shuaiba oil refinery and the Arifjan US Army camp during Ramadan, officials say.

KUWAIT // Detained members of an al Qa'eda-linked group planned to attack Kuwait's Shuaiba oil refinery during Ramadan, a security official said today. Kuwait said yesterday it had foiled a plan by a six-member al Qa'eda-linked network to bomb the Arifjan US Army camp, the state security building, and "important facilities", but gave no further details on the other potential targets. "The group planned to attack Shuaiba during Ramadan," the security official said. Ramadan is due to begin around August 22, depending on the moon.

The ageing 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) Shuaiba plant is the smallest of Kuwait's three refineries, which have a combined capacity of around 930,000 bpd. Members of the cell, led by a surgeon at one of the US-allied state's hospitals, had confessed to planning attacks aimed at pressuring the United States to remove Kuwait-based troops, al-Anbaa newspaper reported today, citing unidentified sources it said were familiar with the investigation.

The US army uses sites in the country as a logistics base to support troops in Iraq. The group used Google Earth to acquire images of the refinery, the camp and a state security building, Anbaa reported. al Qa'eda has waged attacks in Kuwait in recent years and bombed foreign housing complexes and oil sites in several Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia, but a crackdown by governments in the region has succeeded in preventing fresh violence.

"This refinery is very well protected," said a Kuwaiti oil official. "There is really no way to approach it by land." * Reuters