Al-Qaeda link probed in Yemen, Kuwait attacks

11 October 2002

The possibility of a revival of the Al-Qaeda organisation is being investigated following two incidents, in Yemen and Kuwait, one involving an explosion on an oil tanker, the other an attack on US marines.

A team of US security experts joined their French and Yemeni counterparts in Yemen to investigate the cause of an explosion which gutted the French-flagged oil tanker Limburg in the Gulf of Aden on 6 October. One of the members of the crew was killed in the blast and 12 others were injured.

The crew of the ship, which had been chartered by Petronas of Malaysia, said they believed it was rammed by a small motorboat packed with explosives. But the head of the Yemeni investigation, Sea Transport Minister Said Yafaai, said the Limburg's captain was 'irresponsible' to suggest a terrorist attack.

'Obviously everyone is concerned about what happened but it is too early to speculate whether it was an accident or an act of terrorism,' said US co-ordinator Francis Taylor on 9 October after a meeting with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A US marine was killed and another injured on 8 October, when two Kuwaitis opened fire on them on Failaka island off Kuwait City.

The incident occurred when the two attackers, named by the Interior Ministry as Anas Ahmed Ibrahim Abdel Rahim al-Kandari and Jassem Hamad Mubarak Salem al-Hajri, opened fire on a unit of the US Marine Corps (USMC), which was conducting an annual war exercise on the 58-square-kilometre island.

Members of the USMC shot the two attackers, who tried to speed away in a vehicle. Three AK-47 assault rifles and quantities of ammunition were recovered from the truck.

Describing the shoot-out as a 'terrorist attack', Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed al-Salem al-Sabah said on 9 October: 'An investigation has been launched. We have identified the attackers and are taking appropriate steps against those who, we think, provided assistance.'

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