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Mon 11 Jan 2010 03:22 PM

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Kuwait stock exchange closed after bomb threat

UPDATE 2: Kuwaiti bourse building shut after bogus bomb threat.

Kuwait's stock exchange building was closed and evacuated on Monday after receiving a bomb threat which later turned out to be bogus, a security official said.

Defence forces and bomb sniffing dogs searched the building and staff were not being allowed to approach for about three hours.

Colonel Mohammed al Saber, Interior Ministry spokesman, said: "No explosives were found, it is a false alert," after police allowed staff to return to the bourse building, assuring them it was safe.

The threat came after the end of Monday's trading session.

The high-rise stone and glass building is home to trading houses and brokerages, forms a central part of the city's financial district and is surrounded by major banks.

Kuwait's stock exchange is the second largest by value in the Middle East.

Police and security guards told bystanders not to approach the building and ambulances stood at the ready nearby.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks on US cities, there were a number of al Qaeda-inspired attacks in Kuwait, including a raid that killed one US Marine and wounded another in October 2002. The government has since waged a largely successful campaign to stamp out violence by Islamist militants.

In August of 2009, Kuwaiti authorities foiled an al Qaeda-linked plan to bomb a US Army camp and an oil refinery in the OPEC oil exporting state.

In the past year, shopping malls and schools in Kuwait have also been the target of bomb threats which later turned out to be bogus. (Reuters)

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