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Kuwaiti 'Can't Remember' Shooting GIs

A Kuwaiti policeman told a court Wednesday that he doesn't remember shooting and seriously wounding two U.S. Army soldiers and is receiving psychological treatment. His lawyer entered an insanity plea on his behalf at the opening of the trial.

The Nov. 21 shootings happened after Khaled al-Shimmiri, 20, allegedly stopped the car of the two soldiers, both from Lake Charles, La., on a highway and told them they were speeding.

"I don't remember that I tried to kill them," al-Shimmiri said, when asked by the judge if he had tried to murder the two soldiers. "I was sick, and I asked my partner (in the patrol car) to take me home."

He said he had been receiving treatment for psychological problems in Kuwait and Jordan. Al-Shimmiri also indicated he had no motive to shoot Master Sgt. Larry Thomas, 51, and Sgt. Charles Ellis, 27.

"There is nothing between me and Americans," he said, standing clean-shaven in a beige prison uniform in the caged defendant's dock.

Al-Shimmiri's lawyer, Nawwaf al-Mutairi, entered an insanity plea for his client and told reporters later that al-Shimmiri had no links to terrorist groups.

Al-Mutairi has said his client was being investigated for attempted murder and illegally acquiring a weapon, having been banned from carrying a gun because of his psychological troubles.

The Nov. 21 shooting added to concerns about growing anti-American sentiments in Kuwait, a small Arab state in the Persian Gulf that could become a staging ground for any war on Iraq.

In October, Muslim fundamentalists killed one Marine and injured another on a Kuwaiti island. Other Marines killed the gunmen. More recently, religious extremists also were blamed for killing an American businessman and injuring another not far from Camp Doha, where U.S. forces are based. Both businessmen had been contracted by the U.S. military.

Kuwait has depended on Washington for protection since the 1991 Gulf War, which ended a seven-month Iraqi occupation, and the country hosts some 30,000 U.S. military personnel — a figure that has been growing fast in recent weeks as the United States prepares for a possible Iraq war.

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