The air-raid sirens wailed at the end of what was, for many Israelis, a long day. They had worked late to make up for missed days, and they were driving home.

Then came a roar like low-flying warplanes, and an explosion."From the east I heard a tremendous whistle out of the sky," said Israel radio reporter Michael Huler. "I turned and saw a huge object descending toward me."

It struck several dozen yards from where Huler dropped to the ground.

"A huge explosion, a tremendous impact, so big an impact that the microphone broke in my hands and didn't record the final explosion. The missile fell several dozen yards away from me," he said.

"I wasn't hurt, only sprayed by pieces of glass and other objects that flew from all around. And after the stillness, there are shouts, screams, children crying, people running," he said.

The missile flattened a two-story apartment building Tuesday evening and damaged at least 20 others. Up to 96 people were reported injured, mostly with minor injuries. Three elderly people suffered fatal heart attacks, authorities said.

The two previous Scud attacks last week occurred early in the morning when most people were home. This one struck at about 8:30 p.m., when streets were relatively busy.

Robert Cowdrey, a resident of the damaged area who is originally from Huntington Beach, Calif., said he had gone into a sealed room as protection against chemical attack when the blast struck.

"It was no more than a minute after I went in that I heard the boom and the concussion," he said. "I was sealing the door with tape. The concussion blew the door open and threw me against a wall."

One of the three elderly people who died was an 88-year-old woman who was blind and suffering from diabetes, said Yitzhak Mandliel, who had cared for her and her 93-year-old husband. Her husband lived through the attack.

Mandliel and his son Avshalom rushed to the scene after failing to get an answer when telephoning the couple.

"She was from Russia, she survived the Holocaust, and she had to end up here," the younger Mandliel said.