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Kuwaiti  Suspect Confesses to Shooting of Americans - 2003-01-23

Kuwaiti officials say the suspect arrested following Tuesday's ambush of two Americans in Kuwait has confessed.

Authorities in Kuwait say the suspect is a 25-year-old man who works for Kuwait's department of social affairs. The Kuwaiti interior ministry identified him as Sami al-Mutairi and said he confessed to shooting the two Americans as they drove their vehicle near Camp Doha. One American was killed and the other was seriously wounded.

Kuwaiti authorities say the weapon used in the attack was discovered hidden where Mr. Mutairi works.

A statement released by the interior ministry said Mr. Mutairi acknowledged following the ideals of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.

The two Americans, both contractors working for the U.S. military, were shot Tuesday as they were driving near the Camp Doha military base, where as many as 10,000 U.S. troops are stationed.

Mr. Mutairi was arrested Wednesday, after crossing the border from Kuwait into Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday extradited him to Kuwait for questioning. Kuwaiti officials say they are attempting to determine if he has ties to any terrorist organization.

News of the arrest was welcomed by the U.S. embassy in Kuwait. Embassy spokesman John Moran said the embassy was encouraged by the arrest. He also called on the Kuwaiti government to do everything in its power to protect American citizens from terrorist attacks.

Tuesday's shooting was the third time in four months that Americans have been killed or seriously injured in attacks in Kuwait.

In October, a U.S. Marine was killed and another wounded by two Kuwaiti gunmen, while Marines were training on a Kuwaiti island. The two gunmen were then shot and killed by other Marines.

In November, two U.S. Marines were shot and seriously wounded by a Kuwaiti policeman who had stopped their vehicle. That man was later arrested while attempting to cross the border into Saudi Arabia.