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Kuwait tanks along breached fence

The United Nations monitors the zone between Kuwait and Iraq.
The United Nations monitors the zone between Kuwait and Iraq.

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KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) -- One of Kuwait's strongest army battalions has positioned its tanks at each of 33 openings recently created in the demilitarized zone fence on its border with Iraq, Kuwait's Defense Ministry said Saturday.

Kuwait's army is on alert ahead of a possible U.S.-led invasion into Iraq from the south.

Kuwaiti workers have been cutting holes in the fence between Iraq and Kuwait -- gaps big enough for military vehicles to pass through, U.N. officials said Friday. (Full story)

The workers said they were told to make 35 holes in the fence by March 15, the U.N. reported.

The activity has fueled speculation on the likelihood of war against Iraq. About 100,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Kuwait, and military analysts have said an invasion force would likely come from Kuwait across the southern Iraqi border.

Kuwait's Defense Ministry said Saturday it will decide in the next 24 hours whether to call up the Kuwait National Guard to back up the regular army should hostilities begin.

The National Guard also would be responsible for controlling an expected wave of Iraqi refugees heading south. A tank regiment will be sent to assist with refugee control.

Orders also have been given to increase security around Kuwait's government ministries, foreign embassies and vital infrastructure, such as oil refineries and power and desalinization plants.

Security also has been beefed up at the landmark Kuwait Towers and Liberation Tower.

The Kuwaiti Environmental Committee has begun working on a plan to protect the country's shoreline and coastal waters should Iraq dump oil into the Persian Gulf.


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