Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chronology of the Scud Attacks in Israel and Saudi Arabia

From: Appendix, CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE FROM SCUD ATTACKS IN THE 1991 GULF WAR, by George N. Lewis, Steve Fetter, and Lisbeth Gronlund, March 1993

Chronology of the Scud Attacks

Many details about the attacks on both Israel and Saudi Arabia remain classified or otherwise unavailable. This chronology represents our best current assessment of events, and is constructed from a variety of often-contradictory public sources including U.S. and Israeli government announcements, newspaper and television news reports, and published articles as well as private communications from Israelis.108 All times given are local time in either Israel or Saudi Arabia.109

It appears that about 81 Scuds fell in or near Israel and Saudi Arabia and that somewhat less than 47 of these were engaged by Patriot.110 It has also been reported that an additional small number of Scuds (roughly 5 to 8) failed shortly after launch and thus did not reach either Israel or Saudi Arabia.111

108 The most important sources used in constructing this chronology were: U.S. military press conferences (a very useful compilation of these is contained in Hildreth, "Evaluation of U.S. Army Assessment"; Official Israeli and Saudi Arabian statements (contained in FBIS); the compilation of attack damage in Ma'ariv (March 29, 1991) and the Jerusalem Post (March 1, 1991, p. 2); Joseph S. Bermudez, "Iraqi Missile Operations During Desert Storm -
Update," Jane's Soviet Intelligence Review, May 1991, p. 225; Bleich et. al., "Psychiatric Implications"; daily reporting in the New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, and Jerusalem Post; and television reports from the ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, and NBC networks. Much of the information on the Scud attacks in Israel (in particular, on impact locations) is based on interviews conducted by Reuven Pedatzur in Israel).

A generally similar chronology (based in large part on reporting by the Los Angeles Times) appears in Gregory S. Jones, The Iraqi Ballistic Missile Program: The Gulf War and the Future of the Missile Threat (Marina del Rey, Calif.: American Institute for Strategic Cooperation, 1992).

109 During the war, the time in Israel and Saudi Arabia was respectively 7 and 8 hours ahead of the time in the eastern United States.
110 The figure of 47 engagements was released by the U.S. Army after the war, but the Army's current figures are somewhat lower. Conyers, "The Patriot Myth," note 3.
111 The U.S. Army reported that 88 Scuds were launched. Another source says 86 Scuds were launched, but that five of them broke up immediately after launch (Bermudez, "Iraqi Missile Operations - Update"). The Iraqis claim that they launched 93 Scuds during the Gulf War (5 of which were a longer-range Scud variant called the al-Hijara). "Iraqi Scud Missile Declarations," Arms Control Today, November, 1992, p. 28. 43


It appears that about 39 Scuds fell into Israel or the adjoining Mediterranean Sea. Twelve
Scuds fell before Patriot was operational, and 27 afterwards, of which 17 were engaged. The
Scud attacks directly killed two people, seriously injured 11, and slightly injured another 220.

January 18, about 2 am - 8 Scuds towards Tel Aviv and Haifa (probably five or six to Tel Aviv). Patriot was not yet operational. One Scud hit in a poor and crowded neighborhood in the Ezra district of Tel Aviv, but hit "at the edge of the only empty lot for blocks." A second Scud exploded at or near a leather factory in the Tel Aviv suburb of Azor. Another Scud exploded at a shopping center under construction in Haifa. Twenty-two injuries were reported (apparently all due to the Scud in the Ezra district), but most or all were light injuries.

January 19, about 7:15 am - 4 Scuds towards Tel Aviv. Patriot was not yet operational. Three Scuds fell in Tel Aviv. One directly struck a multi-story building in downtown Tel Aviv but did not explode, and its warhead was recovered intact from a ground-floor jewelry store. One Scud hit directly next to a municipal center in Tel Aviv's Hatkiva district, blowing open a basement bomb shelter (it was unoccupied). The impact point was only about three hundred meters from the one in the Ezra district the previous day, and most of the injuries on January 19 occurred here. The third Scud fell in Yarkon Park, near the Tel Aviv exhibition center. The fourth Scud reportedly fell along the coast somewhere south of Tel Aviv. Thirty people were injured, apparently all lightly.

January 22, about 8:40 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. This was the first Scud to be engaged by Patriot in Israel. The Scud warhead detonated in an alleyway between two apartment buildings on Abba Hillel street in the northwestern part of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. One building apparently collapsed, and many other buildings were damaged. A woman was killed and 84 other people were injured. 44

January 23, about 10:20 pm - 1 Scud towards Haifa. It was engaged by Patriot. No casualties occurred, but falling debris caused some damage. News media videos suggest that the Scud exploded in the Mediterranean.

January 25, about 6 pm - 7 Scuds (some sources say only six) towards Tel Aviv and Haifa. Most of these were towards Tel Aviv, and most or all were engaged by Patriot.112 No casualties or damage were reported in Haifa. At least two Scuds exploded in residential areas in the Tel Aviv area. In addition, at least three Patriots struck the ground in Tel Aviv on this night (as well as at least one in Haifa). One Scud impact site was in Ramat Hatayasim in southeastern Tel Aviv; the Scud other fell only several hundred meters away across the border in neighboring Ramat Gan. It is known that a missile struck a two-story house destroying it and damaging many nearby buildings, and another fell next to a school (for crippled children, according to one report) in a residential neighborhood, seriously damaging it; however we have not yet been able to correlate these explosions with specific impact points. One Patriot struck in or near Hamaccabia Stadium, just north of downtown Tel Aviv.113 The impact points of the other Patriots are not known to us at present. Falling debris also caused damage. One man was killed (in Ramat Gan), and 67 were injured.

January 26, about 10 pm - 5 Scuds (some sources say only three or four) towards Tel Aviv and Haifa. The Scuds were reportedly fired in two salvos separated by a short period of time. Most or all reportedly were engaged by Patriot. One Scud apparently fell on a deserted stretch of beach north of downtown Tel Aviv. No serious damage was caused, although two injuries occurred.
112 Most of the engagements in Israel took place in the two attacks on January 25 and 26. It appears that there were at least seven engagements on other days in Israel. If the figure of 17 total engagements in Israel is correct, then it appears that about 10 of the 12 Scuds on January 25 and 26 were engaged.
113 The photograph on page 296 of the short version of this paper published in Nature (Fetter, Lewis, and Gronlund, "Why Were Scud Casualties So Low?"), captioned "Scud launched from Iraq hits Tel Aviv at Night in January 1991," actually shows a smoke cloud rising from the impact point of this Patriot.45

January 28, about 9 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. The Scud fell short and landed near the village of Dir Balut in the West Bank (about 25 km east of Tel Aviv). No casualties or serious damage were reported.

January 31, about 7 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. Landed in the Samaria region, reportedly near an Arab village. The U.S. reported that it landed 15 miles southeast of Tel Aviv. No damage or casualties were reported.

February 2, about 8:30 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It fell short and came down in an
unsettled region of the West Bank. No damage or casualties.

February 3, about 1:40 am - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It fell short and landed in the West Bank. No casualties, but it may have caused some minor damage.

February 9, about 2:40 am - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It was engaged by Patriot. The warhead exploded in the middle of a street in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, pulling down walls on a number of buildings on both sides of the street. Thirteen people were injured.

February 11, about 7 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It was engaged by Patriot. It was reported to have hit in an uninhabited area, and it probably fell in the Mediterranean north of Tel Aviv. No casualties or damage.

February 12, about 1:30 am - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It was engaged by Patriot. The warhead detonated between two houses in a neighborhood of mostly private homes in or near the town of Savyon, about 10 km east of Tel Aviv. Both houses were demolished and a number of other houses were seriously damaged. One of the demolished houses was empty, and a man was dug out from the debris of the other (he was not seriously injured). Nine people were injured.

February 16, about 8:10 pm - 2 Scuds, 1 towards Haifa, 1 towards southern Israel (although an 46 IDF spokesperson has said there were four, 2 to Haifa and 2 to the Negev Desert). The one towards Haifa was probably engaged by Patriot and may have fallen into the Mediterranean. The one to southern Israel fell in an open area in the Negev desert and reportedly carried a concrete warhead. No casualties or serious damage were reported.114

February 19, about 7:50 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It was engaged by Patriot. The Scud landed in an uninhabited area about 7 to 11 km east of the municipal airport. The Scud's warhead did not explode and no damage or casualties resulted.

February 23, about 6:50 pm - 1 Scud towards Tel Aviv. It landed in an unpopulated area and there were no casualties or damage.

February 25, about 3:40 am and 5:40 am - 2 Scuds towards southern Israel. Both fell in unpopulated areas of the Negev region. No significant damage was done, although two injuries were reported.

114 In all, Iraq fired three Scuds into the Negev desert in the southern part of Israel, probably aimed at the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona. The Iraqis claimed that they fired four Scuds at Israel on February 16, with three of them aimed at Dimona. Bradley Burston, "Iraq: We Fired New Missile at Dimona," Jerusalem Post, February 18, 1991,

234 and 231 respectively).
Many reports cite only one, rather than two, direct deaths. This discrepancy arises from the third attack on Israel, when a single Scud hit the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on the evening of 22 January and three people died. Initial reports attributed all three deaths to heart attacks (and this is what was widely reported afterwards), but one of these
deaths was a direct result of the Scud attack: "It should be noted that heart attack was not the cause of death in all three cases, as reported earlier. The dead woman who was taken to Ichilov Hospital died of crushing wounds as a result of the explosion. The two other dead women suffered heart attacks as a result of the missile impact." Jerusalem Voice of Israel and IDF Radio Network, 4:20 am [Israel Time], 23 January 1991, in FBIS, Daily Report:
Near East and South Asia, 23 January 1991, p. 28.
The other death was a man killed (also in Ramat Gan) in the fifth attack, on the evening of Friday, 25 January, apparently from a head wound. "Brig. Gen. Yehuda Danon, chief medical officer of the Israeli Defense Forces, said one death resulted from a direct hit on a house Friday night and the other was a woman who was crushed by debris and cut by shattered glass." The latter is the death described in the preceding paragraph. William Claiborne and
Jackson Diehl, "Patriots Launched to Meet New Scud Attack Over Israel," Washington Post, 27 January 1991, p. A22

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Ethan Smith said...
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