Last updated: 20 October, 2011

UK embassy in Kuwait suspends services over threat

The British embassy in the Gulf state of Kuwait has temporarily suspended services because of an increased threat toward the mission, a statement on the embassy website said Thursday.

“As of 19 October 2011, because of an increased threat toward the British embassy, we have temporarily suspended British embassy services,” the statement said.

In an update to the “terrorism section” of its travel advice, the embassy also advised British organisations and businesses to review their security measures, although it said that the threat was targeted at the mission itself.

“Whilst the threat is targeted against the embassy itself, we cannot rule out threats against other British interests in Kuwait. We therefore advise that British organisations and businesses in Kuwait review the security procedures they have in place,” it said.

The embassy was closed Thursday, a working day in Kuwait, according to a recorded phone message.

A spokeswoman of the British Foreign Office confirmed the suspension of the embassy but did not provide more details.

“We are aware of an increased threat toward the British embassy in Kuwait. We have therefore taken the precaution of temporarily suspending embassy services,” she said.

The statement issued by the embassy said: “There is a general threat from terrorism in Kuwait. Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.”

“These include references to attacks on Western including European interests… residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests,” it added.

It also advised British nationals to exercise caution before sailing in Kuwaiti waters following what it called maritime restrictions issued by Kuwait last month. There were no further details.

About 20,000 British nationals live and work in Kuwait.

The oil-rich Gulf state has not seen violence since January 2005, when security forces fought gunbattles with a group of Islamists believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda.