CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.S. Marine Killed in Kuwait
Aired October 8, 2002 - 10:07 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: A U.S. military training exercise turned deadly on a Kuwaiti island today.
CNN's Barbara Starr is standing by at the Pentagon. Let's go to her now to get the latest on this developing story this morning.
Barbara, hello. What's the word?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Leon.
Well, yes, the military has now confirmed that one U.S. marine was killed, one injured in this incident off the coast of Kuwait, on an island off Kuwait in the Persian Gulf know as Falaki Island.
The problem is, no one at this point is really sure exactly what did happen. There was an exchange of gunfire between Marines participating in this live-fire exercise and what is being described as unknown assailants.
What is believed is that it was Kuwaiti nationals, an exchange of gunfire between Kuwaitis and Marines. At the moment, the very initial reports are that the Kuwaitis opened fire, the Marines returned fire, killing two Kuwaitis.
But at this point, no one is exactly sure why this happened. Again, initial reports are that perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity on the live fire exercise area, that somebody wandered in, they didn't understand what was happening and this incident ensued.
But it is under very close investigation by both the Kuwaiti government and the U.S. military. At this point, officials tell us they had no warnings of any possible terrorist incidents, no indications of that, but they are still investigating. So, again, one marine has been killed during this live fire exercise incident, one Marine injured, medevaced to a nearby hospital -- Leon.
HARRIS: Barbara, what strikes me, whether it was an accident or not, the U.S. troops are operating around armed Kuwaiti civilians? Is that something that's been known to us? Is that a common thing there?
STARR: Well, I have to tell you again, on that point, very sketchy information, described simply as unknown assailants. What we don't know at this point is whether or not, in fact, they were Kuwaiti civilians, whether they were attached to the Kuwaiti military.
This island off the coast of Kuwait is one that is used for live fire exercises, precisely because it can be sealed off and they can make sure no one wanders in. We just simply don't know yet these Kuwaitis, what their relationship was to the Kuwaiti military and to this exercise. That's all part of what's unfolding here at the Pentagon this morning. The incident having only occurred several hours ago. Officials are still looking into every aspect of it.
HARRIS: Very good. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon,thanks, Barbara.
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