KUWAIT, (Reuters) – Kuwait has beefed up security around vital oil and other installations after the latest al Qaeda threat to attack oil facilities in Gulf Arab states, security sources told Reuters on Thursday.
"A directive was issued by the Interior Ministry late on Wednesday to security officials to beef up security around oil facilities, vital installations and diplomatic missions," the sources said.
In an Internet video posted on Wednesday, al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged militants to strike oil targets in Muslim countries. The comments were said by Arabic television station Al Jazeera to be previously unaired parts of an interview it broadcast in September.
OPEC member Kuwait, which sits on 10 percent of world oil reserves, had previously boosted security around its oil sites when Islamic militants opposed to U.S. troops presence in the country engaged in shootouts with security forces.
Al Qaeda militants have over the past years bombed an oil tanker in Yemen, hit Iraq”s vital Basra Oil Terminal and killed foreigners in oil and petrochemical cities in Saudi Arabia.
Zawahri”s comments echoed a similar call by Osama bin Laden who said in a December 2004 tape this would be the most powerful weapon against America.
"I call on mujahideen to concentrate their attacks on Muslims” stolen oil from which most of the revenues go to the enemies of Islam while most of what they leave is seized by the thieves who rule our countries," Zawahri said.
Kuwait, the launch-pad for the 2003 war to oust Saddam Hussein and host of up to 30,000 U.S. troops, is also home to about 12,000 U.S. citizens.
The Interior Ministry”s directive also suspended vacations for security personnel in light of the recent threats and preparations for the upcoming OPEC meeting.