Two salvos of Iraqi missiles were fired at Israel on Saturday in the sixth attack on the Jewish state. The U.S. military said Patriot defense missiles intercepted all of the incoming Scuds.
The Israeli army said there were no injuries and no reports of damage from the attack, part of Iraq's relentless effort to spread the Persian Gulf war to Israel. Earlier attacks killed four people and injured more than 200.The chief army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Nachman Shai, said all the missiles in Saturday's attack carried conventional warheads. Pentagon officials in Washington said three Iraqi missiles were aimed at Tel Aviv and one at the northern port city of Haifa.
One missile was fired at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at about the same time. It was destroyed by a Patriot missile and caused no injuries or serious damage.
Air raid sirens sounded throughout Israel at 10 p.m. (1 p.m. MST), and then again 20 minutes later, warning citizens to don gas masks and enter sealed rooms in case the missiles carried chemical warheads. At about 11 p.m., the all-clear siren sounded nationwide.
Shai said there were two barrages.
After the all-clear was given, Shai gave a jocular approval for Israelis to go on about their normal lives.
"Whoever wants to leave their homes for any reason is free to," he said. "He can get into his car and go for a drive - but not to forget the chemical kit. But you can take the dog out, smile, it is all over."
There were reminders, however, of the damage the Iraqis have done. Israeli flags flew defiantly from the wreckage of homes in a Tel Aviv suburb, where one man died and 67 were injured in a missile attack Friday.
The national news agency Itim identified Friday's fatality as Eitan Grundland, 55, a factory owner whose home was heavily damaged.
Defense Minister Moshe Arens said Israel had never expected 100-percent success from the U.S.-supplied Patriot missiles deployed to intercept the Scuds.
But he told Israel television the Patriots' crews were improving their performance, studying the special problems of shooting down Scuds, and "we are hoping for better results."
One military analyst, reserve Brig. Gen. Aharon Levran, said the Patriot's short range obliged positioning close to the populated areas they defended.
"The problem with the Patriot missiles is even when they hit an incoming Scud missile, they do it a little bit too close to the defended area," Levran said on Israel radio.