Israel came under a fifth attack from Iraqi Scud missiles Friday and some of them landed in the central part of the country, the Israeli military said.
The attack occurred shortly after 6 p.m., Israeli time, (9 a.m. MST) when most Jews were having traditional Sabbath dinner.The army said the Patriot interceptors successfully destroyed at least two Scud missiles and apparently damaged others.
Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Nachman Shai told Israel radio that there were casualties. He gave no number, but Israeli radio reported at least 26 injuries.
Iraq has been firing missiles into Israel regularly since the gulf war began Jan. 16, primarily at the coastal cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Israel so far has not retaliated.
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the British announced Friday they have abandoned dangerous low-level flying to knock out Iraqi airfields because Saddam Hussein's air force has been effectively "grounded."
British forces have been heavily involved in the low-level flying and have lost proportionately more planes than other Allied forces as a result. Eight British airmen are missing and two are prisoners in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Command in Riyadh announced that American Navy jets attacked Iraq's main naval base on the Persian Gulf late Thursday, dropping 500- and 1,000-pound bombs that hit four vessels and left them burning at their moorings.
U.S. officials also said that the Iraqis have apparently loosed an oil slick from an off-shore pumping station, Mina Alamid, which has the capacity to spew 100,000 barrels a day into the gulf.
The platform is located 10 miles off the Kuwaiti coast. It appears to be moving southward, anywhere from 8 to 10 miles long, and several miles wide.
"The experts in the oil business, are looking at that very carefully to determine the amounts or the potential risk and threat there is to Saudi coastal facilities," Marine Maj. Gen. Robert Johnston said.
Sir Peter de la Billiere, commander of British gulf forces, said Iraqi prisoners and defectors have told commanders there are "substantial numbers of Iraqis" who hope to see the war end quickly "before they're dead."
U.S. forces killed three Iraqi soldiers and captured 29 others in liberating the tiny Kuwaiti island of Qaruh, a small track of land with no permanent residents and which is often under water.
"It's not important, but it is significant that it is liberated," said Hasan Abdul-Aziz, spokesman for the Kuwaiti Information Office. "It is the first piece of land liberated from the Iraqis," since Baghdad's Aug. 2 takeover of the emirate.
Johnston said that among the 51 Iraqis captured on Thursday a large number were "covered with lice and they have some open sores."
He said they told their captors they were getting "pretty slim rations" and some were down to one meal a day.
Johnston said that while the military cannot draw too many conclusions from the 100 Iraqis it holds, their statements indicate that allied efforts to cut off supplies to Saddam's ground forces are having an effect.