Middle East and North Africa cases 2003: Country List    I   Middle East and North Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

DECEMBER 11, 2003

Posted: December 11,2003


At around 12 p.m., a secretary for Ahmed Jarallah, editor of the daily Al-Siyassah, was wounded when he opened a large envelope addressed to Jarallah containing explosives. The secretary, Walid Dahdouh, suffered cuts on his hands and face, apparently after cutting a wire on a detonator, Jarallah told CPJ.

Jarallah said the letter, a large envelope postmarked Beirut, Lebanon, arrived in his office on December 9 indicating it was sent by Ghassan Charbel, a well-known editor with the Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat. Jarallah said the attacker used Charbel's name "to mislead people that it was a normal envelope."

Jarallah, who returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia on December 11, said Kuwaiti military officials informed him that the letter contained the plastic explosive Semtex, but that it did not detonate. Had it exploded, he said, Dahdouh would likely have been killed. A white powder was also found in the letter, and Kuwaiti authorities are testing it to determine whether it is anthrax or another harmful substance, he said.

Jarrallah said he believed that the paper was targeted for criticizing "political and religious fanatics in the Arab world."

CPJ sources in Kuwait said the pro-Saudi newspaper had been particularly critical of religious extremists and terrorism in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks. The paper has also lambasted those who opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq.