No Warning, No One Hurt, Damage Minimal
We don't yet know who fired it (Iraq is the main suspect), nor
do we know why the air raid sirens were silent. A missile exploded
near a major shopping mall in Kuwait City early Saturday, but
Kuwaiti and American military officials said it caused no injuries
and little damage.
It was the closest that a missile has come to Kuwait City since
the war began in neighboring Iraq on March 20. And there was
apparently no warning. Police Brig. Ahmed al-Rujaid, appearing on
national television, said the missile landed at about 1:45
a.m.(5:45 p.m. EST Friday), close to the Souq Sharq mall, a
multilevel shopping center, one of the biggest in Kuwait.
Someone Sleeping On The Job?
No air raid siren sounded before the explosion,
which shattered windows, blasted the glass door at the front of the
mall and blew out huge chunks of plater from the adjacent parking
"There were no injuries and material damage is very small,"
Parts of the ceiling and walls littered the ground in a covered
plaza in front of the mall after the explosion. Television images
also showed smoke rising over the Kuwaiti skyline.
Souq Sharq is on the Kuwaiti seafront and includes a marina,
shops and restaurants. The mall is about half a mile from Sief
Palace, the official seat of the emir of Kuwait. The emir, Sheik
Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, lives in Dasman palace, about two miles
At the Pentagon, a senior defense official said initial reports
indicated that U.S. anti-missile defenses picked up no sign of a
missile engine plume, suggesting that what hit Kuwait City was not
a long-range ballistic missile. The official stressed, however,
that the situation was not clear.
Air Strikes Didn't Stop This One
The U.S. military announced Friday that Navy F/A-18 warplanes
struck three Al Samoud ballistic missile launchers. The launchers
were about 25 miles northwest of the Iraqi city of Basra, just
north of the Kuwait border.
It said the strike was part on an ongoing effort to prevent Iraq
from attacking U.S. forces in the area or neighboring countries. Al
Samouds have a range of more than 95 miles, according to the United
U.S. Patriot missile batteries guard Kuwait against missile
attacks by neighboring Iraq. In Doha, Qatar, the U.S. Central
Command said it was investigating the explosion but had no further
information and could not confirm a missile attack.
It was the 13th missile fired at Kuwait since the
US-led military campaign to oust Iraq's Saddam Hussein began. None
is believed to have carried chemical or biological warheads, and
none has caused damage or injury. Several have been destroyed by
On Thursday, civilian defense officials in Kuwait said an
American Patriot PAC-3 missile knocked down an Iraqi missile fired
from southern Iraq. No debris was reported to have fallen on
populated areas. Air raid sirens have sounded repeatedly since the
war began last week, cautioning the 2.3 million residents of this
small, oil-rich state to take cover. Four of the missile strikes
were believed to involve Scuds — which Iraq also is banned
from possessing. Two others were identified as Chinese-made
surface-to-surface Silkworm missiles, Kuwait officials said.
Within hours of the first US strike on Baghdad last week, sirens
blared throughout Kuwait City, sending jittery residents scrambling
for bomb shelters, some carrying gas masks and chemical suits.