KUWAIT CITY – The U.S. Embassy warned Americans in Kuwait on Thursday to be cautious, saying terrorists have been conducting surveillance of at least one building where Westerners live.
It was the fourth security-related message from the embassy this month.
The embassy warning message pointed to two shootouts this month between Kuwaiti police and suspected militants that killed two suspects and two policemen.
The embassy warden message said it has “information that the group behind the recent shootings did not distinguish between official and civilian targets and that they conducted surveillance of at least one facility known to house a large number of Western civilians.”
The embassy identified the buildings as the Alia and Ghaliya towers in Fintas, south of Kuwait City. Additional security measures have been put in place at the location, the warden message said.
“Heightened security awareness should be exercised in all residential complexes, as terrorists have specifically targeted a variety of Western housing facilities in the past,” it said.
About two years ago, a young Kuwaiti was arrested with homemade explosives near the towers in Fintas. He had not used them.
The embassy asked Americans to maintain a low profile, avoid areas where Westerners are known to congregate and report any suspicious activity to police. Some 13,000 Americans are registered with the embassy. Many work in the oil sector and in education.
Authorities have arrested more than 25 Kuwaiti and Saudi suspects since the Jan. 10 and 15 clashes. Seven of them, including a woman, have been referred to the prosecution for planning terrorist attacks or failing to report such plans to the police.
On Jan. 10, a Kuwaiti fundamentalist and two policemen were killed in a clash in a Kuwait City suburb. Five days later, a Saudi fundamentalist was killed in a shootout at Umm al-Haiman, a town near the Saudi border.
Police have found large caches of weapons and explosives around the country this month.
Kuwait has been a major ally of Washington since a U.S.-led coalition liberated it in 1991 from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. The country was the launch pad for 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, and it is still a logistics stop for U.S. troops serving there.
Some fundamentalist Kuwaitis oppose the American military presence in their country. They have carried out attacks against Americans since 2002, leaving one U.S. Marine and a civilian American contracted to the military dead.