Failed suicide attack on US soldiers in Kuwait | News | DW | 08.10.2016
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Failed suicide attack on US soldiers in Kuwait

Kuwaiti officials say the bomb-laden truck failed to detonate, leaving only the truck driver injured. Kuwait has largely been spared from IS attacks, however, officials say they thwarted three such attempts in July.

Kuwait US-Militär, Verteidigungsminister Ash Carter (Getty Images/J. Ernst)

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter holds a security meeting at Camp Arifjan in 2015

Kuwaiti security officials arrested a suspected Islamic jihadist after he slammed an explosives laden truck into a vehicle carrying five US soldiers in Kuwait on Saturday.

The explosives failed to detonate, and the only person injured in the attack was the Egyptian truck driver identified as Ibrahim Sulaiman. The government did not identify the location of the incident, but said security forces took the alleged perpetrator to the hospital.

"After an initial investigation of the suspect Sulaiman, who was born in 1988, by specialized security apparatus, a hand-written note was found indicating that he had adopted the terrorist Daesh ideology and pledged allegiance to this organization," the state news agency KUNA said, referring to the so-called "Islamic State" (IS).

Kuwait is a US ally, wedged between Saudi Arabia and Iraq at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf. It is part of a 34-nation alliance aimed at countering IS and al Qaeda militants across the Middle East, in particular Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt, as well as Afghanistan, which lies outside of the region.

Kuwait has experienced relatively little violence in terms of Islamic militant attacks, but in July the country, which houses US military bases, claims to have foiled three attacks by IS militants. One of the plots included plans to blow up a Shiite mosque.

Deadly attack in 2015

The country suffered its deadliest terror attack in decades in June 2015 when a Saudi suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a Shiite mosque, killing 27 people. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Saturday's incident was the first directed against US troops in the oil-rich emirate. Sulaiman, the driver of the truck, was hospitalized with multiple fractures and injuries, according to the Kuwaiti government.

Kuwaiti officials published photos of the aftermath of the crash showing a wrecked garbage truck, as well as a shrapnel-laden suicide belt. The US soldiers were travelling in a white pick-up truck when the left side was smashed by a garbage truck driven by Sulaiman.

US forces and other allies have troops stationed at Kuwait's Camp Arifjan. The US military's Central Command deferred comment to the US Army Central, which is based in both South Carolina and Kuwait. The Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the US Embassy in Kuwait City also refused comment.

Kuwait has been a close US ally ever since US-led forces liberated the country from Iraqi occupation in the 1991 Gulf War. Terror attacks are unusual in the emirate, where Shiites and Sunni Muslims have peacefully coexisted for many years.

bik/lw (Reuters, AP)