Kuwait Calls off Red Alert over Stateless Arabs
Kuwait has ended a state of maximum alert which was declared after hundreds of stateless Arabs gathered last week on the border in Iraq demanding a right of entry, the interior minister said Tuesday.
"We have maintained some degree of caution inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), but completely ended the alert outside," Sheikh Mohammad Khaled al-Sabah told reporters during a border visit.
Senior security officials told AFP that scores of elite Kuwaiti troops who were moved up to the DMZ line on October 3, have been pulled back to barracks.
The stateless people, known as bidoon, staged a sit-in for five days to press their claims to return to Kuwait, but dismantled their tents Saturday saying they did not want to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
The emirate described the protest a "propaganda stunt" staged by Iraqi intelligence.
Kuwait maintains military camps and posts outside the DMZ in addition to many police posts to patrol the zone, which is five kilometres (three miles) wide on the Kuwaiti side and 10 kilometres (six miles) on the Iraqi side.
The DMZ is controlled by a UN Iraq-Kuwait Observers Mission (UNIKOM) of 1,309 UN observers.
Kuwait says the bidoon living inside the oil-rich Gulf state currently number around 102,000, down from 225,000 prior to the Iraqi invasion of August 1990 -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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