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Sailor shot by Kuwait sea patrol

A boat similar to these dhows was fired at in the darkness.
A boat similar to these dhows was fired at in the darkness.

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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ABOARD USS CONSTELLATION (CNN) -- A Kuwaiti patrol boat fired at a traditional sailing vessel that had not heeded calls to stop in the Persian Gulf, killing one person.

The battle group's commander, Rear Admiral Barry Costello, told a news conference aboard the Constellation Wednesday that one person aboard the dhow had been shot dead. The man killed is believed to be an Iraqi.

"Our perception of the events surrounding that is that some dhows came down and went into Kuwaiti seas," Costello said.

The Kuwaitis called over to the dhows, the traditional ships used to ferry goods around the Gulf, directing them to stop for boarding operations or go back to Iraqi waters.

"(One) dhow did not respond and continued to go forward," the admiral said, "and as a result of that non-response in the darkness of the night the Kuwaitis fired what we believe was meant to be a warning shot and unfortunately somebody was killed as a result."

Costello said about 20 to 30 dhows regularly come into the Gulf each night, adding that U.S. or coalition forces stop and board every ship that moves into the area, searching for oil or contraband. Many are sent back to Iraq, he said.

Costello also said that within the last 24 hours, about 250 dhows left the Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz -- an exodus that was last seen shortly before the Gulf War in 1991.

-- CNN Correspondent Frank Buckley contributed to this report


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