Senior Kuwaiti Official Rules Out Response To Terrorist Demands
KUWAIT (AP) _ A senior Kuwait official today was quoted as saying that the government would stand fast under pressure in refusing to release 17 prisoners convicted in the December 1983 bomb attacks on the U.S. and French embassies.
The official, Maj. Gen. Yousef al-Khorafi, was reacting to a question about recurrent demands by the Islamic Jihad group that Kuwait free the terrorists in exchange for the release of American and French hostages held in Lebanon.
Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, is believed composed of Shiite Moslem extremists who are loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s spiritual and revolutionary leader.
The newspaper al-Qabas quoted al-Khorafi, Interior Minister undersecretary, as saying in an interview, ″We stick to our principled attitude in not paying any attention to any threats or any pressures by any party, because whoever seeks to undermine Kuwait’s security and stability must be penalized.″
The 17 are mainly Iraqi Shiites who have been identified as members of the Iraqi underground al-Daawa Party, which is pro-Iranian.
Three of the 17 have been condemned to death, including a Lebanese who has been identified as Elias Fuad Saab, 24, a Maronite Christian who rigged explosives for the attacks.
But the American weekly news magazine Newsweek says in its Oct. 20 edition the name was a Christian alias for a Shiite bomb maker, Mustafa Yousef, and that the kidnappers of three American hostages in Beirut are cousins of Yousef. It quoted unidentified intelligence sources as saying the kidnappers will settle for just the release of their cousin and two other Lebanese Shiites among the 17 - Hussein Musawi, 29, serving a life sentence, and Azzam Khalil Ibrahim, 23, who is serving a 15-year prison term.
Newsweek said that the kidnappers, who sign their communiques Islamic Jihad, are members of a family called the Mugniyahs, part of the Musawi clan led by Hussein Musawi from the Bekaa.
Kuwait underscored its refusal to yield to terrorist demands when it denied an entry visa to Terry Waite, the Anglican Church envoy who was negotiating for the release of the hostages in Lebanon.
According to al-Qabas, al-Khorafi said Kuwait would welcome the visit by Waite, who represents the archbishop of Canterbury, ″but will not hear any talk outside the dictates of hospitality.″
It quoted al-Khorafi as saying that the main source of concern to Kuwaiti security authorities was ″the attempt by certain states to use some groups in achieving certain objectives which they fail to realize through negotiation and dialogue.″ He did not identify any party, adding that ″this method may achieve some success but eventually fails to accomplish entire success,″ the newspaper said.
The three Americans that Islamic Jihad claims to be holding are Terry Anderson, 38, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press; agriculturist Thomas Sutherland, 55, of Fort Collins, Colo., and hospital administrator David Jacobsen, 55, of Huntington Beach, Calif.
Peggy Say, Anderson’s sister, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the details published by Newsweek are sufficient for the Reagan administration to contact Islamic Jihad and negotiate for the Americans’ release.
State Department spokeswoman Anita Stockman said Sunday when asked for comment, ″This is not necessarily a new story. Saying the kidnappers have a cousin in the Kuwaiti prison doesn’t exactly narrow down who the kidnappers are.″
She said the administration has ″been working for the release of the hostages since day one.″