Seoul denies Korean soldier was killed in Kuwait
CAIRO ― South Korea’s Defense Ministry denied yesterday an Islamic militant group’s claim that it had killed several Kuwaiti soldiers, three U.S. servicemen and a Korean near an oil refinery in Kuwait.
The group calling itself the Kuwait Mujahideen issued a statement on Saturday that said it had attacked a military base near the Kuwaiti city of Umm al-Haiman and killed the soldiers. The statement, which was posted on an Arabic Web site, also claimed that after killing the South Korean soldier, he was stripped of his clothes.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday, “We have confirmed that there has been no change in the personal safety of our Air Force officers who are stationed in Kuwait.” They added that there was also no change in the status of South Korean troops in Iraq.
Foreign Ministry officials said, “We are looking into the authenticity of the statement, and also whether any of our citizens in Kuwait have been hurt.” The ministry upgraded its travel advisory on Kuwait from “caution” to “warning.”
An official of the ministry said, “We received an intelligence tip on Dec. 16 that there would be terrorist attacks against Americans in Kuwait.” According to the foreign ministry, there are about 450 South Korean nationals in Kuwait, and among them, 150 are long-term residents. Officials said that South Koreans rarely visit the area in question.
Kuwaiti officials were unavailable for comment. This is the second claim in 10 days suggesting militant groups are targeting Korean nationals.
by Suh Jung-min