One U.S. Marine has been killed and another wounded in what Kuwaiti authorities are calling a terrorist incident that occurred during training exercises in Kuwait. The two attackers were shot dead by American forces.
A statement released by the Pentagon says U.S. military and Kuwaiti government authorities are now investigating the shootings, which occurred on an island off the Kuwaiti coast where the Marines were training.
Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said the attackers approached the Marines in a vehicle and opened fire. "The assailants approached the exercise in a pick-up truck and fired on the Marines with small arms," she said, emphasizing the information came from early reports. "The assailants were in civilian attire. There were no Kuwaiti military forces on the island for this part of the exercise."
The Pentagon says AK-47s and ammunition were found in the assailants' vehicle. In addition, 31 civilians have been taken into custody since the shooting as possible material witnesses. Kuwaiti authorities are questioning them.
The attack took part as U.S. and Kuwaiti forces were conducting a month-long exercise involving air, amphibious, ground and naval units. It is part of a training arrangement in place since the 1991 Gulf War, when U.S. forces liberated Kuwait following an Iraqi invasion.
Pentagon officials have described the current exercise as routine and dismissed suggestions it may be part of a build-up of U.S. forces ahead of a possible attack on Iraq.