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September 21, 2017

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Kuwait will build megaport despite additional militant threats: official

KUWAIT CITY--Kuwait said on Sunday that threats by Iraqi militants will not deter the oil-rich emirate from completing the construction of a controversial megaport between the two nations.

"We are not scared by threats and we are continuing the construction work in the project. Work is ongoing smoothly and as planned," foreign ministry undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah told reporters.

The Kuwaiti official was responding to new threats by Iraqi Shiite militant group Ketaeb Hezbollah that it will strike the port if Kuwait did not halt construction.

The group made its first threat last month and Kuwaiti newspapers on Sunday published new threats by the same group.

"This threat is unfortunate and irresponsible," Jarallah said after a presentation on Mubarak Al-Kabeer port to heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Kuwait.

Last month, Ketaeb Hezbollah, which has claimed deadly attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and is believed to be backed by Iran, warned a South Korean consortium to halt work on the Kuwaiti port project.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said that Kuwait has yet to notify Baghdad officially of the Mubarak project. He said Baghdad only learned about it from third parties.

The multibillion-dollar container port is being constructed on Bubiyan Island, close to the border with Iraq and is due for completion in 2016. Construction began in 2007.

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