Near the Kuwait-Iraq border - Orange flames could be seen Thursday on the northern horizon in the direction of the Iraqi oil centre Basra, witnesses said. A Marine commander said three wells had been set afire.

The witnesses, located in Kuwait about 13km south of the border, said the flames were spotted after a series of explosions that shook buildings in the area.

It was not known if the flames resulted from the explosions.

The Arab satellite television channel Al-Arabiya reported that fires had erupted in Iraq's al-Rumeila field in the Basra area of southern Iraq.

Associated Press reporter Ross Simpson, with a Marine unit in northern Kuwait, says he was told by a battalion commander that "three oil wells have been torched" in Iraq. He said he had no first-hand confirmation of the report. - Sapa-AP