Americans in Kuwait at risk from attacks, U.S. says

KUWAIT Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:41am EDT

KUWAIT (Reuters) - U.S. authorities warned on Tuesday that American citizens in Kuwait remained at risk from terrorist attacks, following the arrest of an al Qaeda-linked network in the Gulf Arab state last week.

Kuwait announced on August 11 that it had arrested all six members of an al Qaeda-linked network who planned to bomb the U.S. Army camp of Arifjan, state security headquarters, and "important facilities," during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Ramadan is expected to start around August 21.

The members of the network who had confessed after their arrest, also planned to attack the OPEC member's 200,000 barrels per day Shuaiba oil refinery, a security official said.

"The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas," the U.S. embassy in Kuwait said in a communique on Tuesday.

It advised U.S. citizens in Kuwait to register with the embassy, and "maintain a high level of vigilance" to avoid being targets of any possible attacks by terrorist groups. "Potential targets may include U.S. contractors, particularly those related to military interests," the message said.

Kuwait, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, was the launch pad for the 2003 U.S.-led war on Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein. After the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, there were a number of al Qaeda-inspired attacks in Kuwait, including a raid that killed one U.S. Marine and wounded another in October 2002.

The government has since waged a largely successful campaign to stamp out violence by Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Eman Goma)