Iraq's deadliest Scud missile attack of the gulf war killed 28 American servicemen and wounded 100, a U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday.
The missile smashed into a two-story U.S. military barracks in Khobar, in eastern Saudi Arabia near the big allied military base at Dhahran, around 9 p.m. local time Monday, causing an explosion and fire that gutted the building.Residents said about 250 military support staff had occupied the barracks - a converted warehouse - for four months.
The missile's warhead scored a direct hit on the building, reducing it to a blackened shell of twisted steel girders and chunks of concrete, witnesses said.
The central command of the U.S.-led military alliance said the Iraqi rocket broke up in flight, making it unnecessary to fire Patriot air-defense missiles to intercept it.
Of the 42 missiles fired against forces in the gulf in 40 days of war, it was the first to kill Americans. One Saudi was killed in a previous attack. Four Israelis have been killed in nearly 40 Scud attacks on the Jewish state.The barracks deaths raised to 125 the number of allied soldiers and airmen killed in combat or accidents since the war began Jan. 17.
Two more Iraqi missiles were fired at the gulf countries of Bahrain and Qatar early Tuesday, but no casualties or damage was reported.
Air raid sirens sounded at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday (3:30 p.m. MST Monday), in Dhahran, other parts of eastern Saudi Arabia and in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The all-clear was sounded about 10 minutes later.
One witness to the Khobar Scud attack, a Saudi air force sergeant, told Reuters, "I saw a very large piece, it almost looked like a bomb. It plunged straight into the building."
A reporter said he saw scores of wounded Americans at a Saudi government hospital, some with broken limbs and shrapnel wounds.
Ambulances, school buses with blacked-out windows and two civilians buses took the injured to the nearest hospitals.
Some were rushed into operating rooms. Others lined hallways, awaiting attention and pleading for pain-killers.
Bahrain said its air defenses destroyed an Iraqi missile fired toward the tiny gulf island country over-night.
There was no damage.
A Scud missile fired at Doha, capital of Qatar, came down in an uninhabited area, Saudi radio reported.