E. Scud Incidents in the KKMC and Hafir Al Batin Areas

1.  Summary

Iraq targeted King Khalid Military City (KKMC) and the area around Hafir Al Batin with an estimated nine Scuds beginning in mid-February. See Table 5.

2.  Details on Selected Incidents

a.  February 14th Attack on Hafir Al Batin (Event 23 in Table 5)

On February 14, 1991, Iraq fired a barrage of Scud missiles in what was the first attack against the general KKMC/Hafir Al Batin area as well as the first attack against a military target in the middle of the day. The attack against Hafir Al Batin involved at least two Scuds and two different launch locations.[111] Patriot radars near KKMC tracked the Scuds, but because the missiles threatened an area outside the batteries’ designated defense zone and range, the crews launched no Patriot missiles against these Scuds.[112] One Scud reportedly exploded in the southeast part of Hafir Al Batin collapsing the side of one house, stripping off the fašade of another, and destroying an automobile maintenance workshop along with four or five cars.[113] Another Scud struck in a civilian district, but damage involved only broken windows. These missiles caused four minor injuries.[114]

Table 5. Scud attacks against KKMC/Hafir Al Batin area

Event #

Date (1991)

Time (Local)

# Scuds (Best est.)

Impact Area



Feb 14

11:45 AM

Poss 5 (alt rpts 2, 3, 4)

Hafir Al Batin

First attack on this area and first in middle of day. Number of missiles unclear in evidence. Five impact areas reported, but most sources noted two Scuds that broke up. See Details on Selected Incidents below.


Feb 21

5:06 PM

2 (alt rpts 3)


Seven Patriots fired, intercepting one or both Scuds (one Scud reportedly disintegrated on its own). No damage or casualties reported.[115]


Feb 21

9:00 PM



Projected impact 12 miles north of city so Patriots did not engage. No casualties or damage. See Details on Selected Incidents below.


Feb 24

12:17 PM

1 (alt rpts 2)


Patriot intercepted one missile. No casualties or damage reported. Second impact of debris recorded. Several sources incorrectly reported another Scud overflying.[116]

One log contained plots of five impacts for these attacks, but did not indicate which involved warheads (and hence separate missiles) and which might have resulted from debris. Three impacts happened close to the town and two at some distance to the south and to the east. The log suggested that the additional impacts resulted from one Scud breaking up in flight.[117] Other reports noted that local eyewitnesses claimed a Scud broke up after another Scud missile or a Patriot hit it.[118] An official United States Air Force post-war assessment noted five Scud launches on the 14th.[119] Another Scud-tracking organization listed four launches on February 14th. Scuds struck no other target area on this date.[120] A nuclear-biological-chemical operations summary stated that one Scud in this attack had an airburst suspected of involving a chemical agent warhead. Units did both ground and aerial surveys. Reports did not indicate how the air survey was conducted, but part of the ground survey included use of a Fox chemical reconnaissance vehicle. The report noted that no contamination was found and that the air burst really involved the Scud breaking up in flight.[121]

Other reporting typifies the variety of accounts that surrounded Scud attacks. From reports that all of the impacts occurred in unoccupied desert areas (but there were casualties and damage in town) to accounts that witnesses saw three air bursts near the town with a warhead separating from one of the missiles (the only report noting three air bursts),[122] unclassified documentation clearly does not present a consistent picture regarding how many missiles were involved in this attack. Based on all available evidence, however, we assess that five separate Scuds struck in the area.

b.  February 21st Attack on KKMC (Event 25 in Table 5)

Iraq launched this attack from the Baghdad area toward KKMC at about 9:00 PM.[123] Missile impact was expected about 12 miles north of the city.[124] However, the missile disintegrated prior to impact, and witnesses observed an air burst. All but two reports indicated Patriots defending the KKMC area did not attempt to engage the Scud.[125] Research revealed no indications of casualties or damage, but one source reported that debris fell in Trailer City, a temporary United States housing area. A United States airman in the housing area remembered the debris falling around him but recalled no injuries.[126]

F.  Scud Incidents in Israel

Iraq fired 42 Scuds that reached Israel or nearby areas of Jordan beginning on January 18, 1991. Iraq launched these missiles from Western Iraq against three general target areas – Tel Aviv, Haifa, and the Negev Desert in Southern Israel, specifically, Dimona where Israel had a nuclear facility.[127] Figure 6 summarizes the general impact areas for these strikes. Those hitting in the West Bank of Jordan presumably fell short of their intended targets in Israel proper.[128]

fig6s.gif (2929 bytes)

Figure 6.  Where Scuds landed in or near Israel

As noted in Section V, the director of Israel’s Scud Recovery Unit indicated none of the missile warheads they recovered had chemical or biological warfare agent components. All had conventional warheads.[129]

The director of the Israeli Scud Recovery Unit also noted that when Patriots shot down a Scud, release of the residual rocket oxidizer (inhibited red fuming nitric acid) generated a cloud of yellow mist that caused burning sensations on exposed skin. Some who experienced Scud attacks incorrectly believed this yellow or orange cloud to be nerve agent.[130] See Section VII on Scud oxidizer incidents.

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