updated 1/31/2005 5:31:23 AM ET 2005-01-31T10:31:23

Kuwaiti police stormed a suspected terrorist hideout on Monday, setting off a gunbattle that killed four suspects in a second day of fighting with Islamic militants, authorities said.

The fighting, in al-Qurain, a town south of Kuwait City, ended with the surrender of three other alleged terrorists, including a top suspect, Amer Khlaif al-Enezi, a government official told Kuwait TV.

An additional three suspects, as well as three police officers, were wounded, Lt. Col. Adel al-Hashshash of the Interior Ministry said. Kuwait TV reported that a civilian was also killed.

The operation was “a spectacular success,” al-Hashshash said.

Kuwait, a major ally of the United States, has been battling Islamic fundamentalists who oppose the presence of American forces in their country.

Month of clashes, arrests
The shootout was the fourth this month between security forces and suspected terrorists. Clashes on Jan. 10 and 15 resulted in the deaths of two suspects and two police offers.

On Sunday, security forces fought with militants in a residential district of Kuwait City in a clash that killed three people — a terrorist suspect, a police officer, and a Bahraini bystander.

Authorities have arrested more than 25 suspects — some of Saudi nationality, the others Kuwaiti. Seven detainees, including a woman, have been referred to prosecutors on suspicions of planning terrorist attacks or failing to report such plans to the police.

Last week, the U.S. and British embassies warned their citizens to be vigilant as further militant attacks were possible.

Kuwait has had close ties with Washington since 1991 when a U.S.-led coalition liberated it from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. The country was the launch pad for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. It remains a logistics base for U.S. troops serving in Iraq.

Since 2002, fundamentalists have carried out several attacks against Americans in Kuwait, killing one U.S. Marine and a civilian contracted to the U.S. military.

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