Gulf War

Iraqi rocket attacks on Israel
American MIM-104 Patriot missiles launching to intercept incoming Iraqi Al-Hussein missiles over the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, 12 February 1991. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1991 Jan 17 - Feb 23

Iraqi rocket attacks on Israel


Throughout the entire Gulf War air campaign, Iraqi forces fired approximately 42 Scud missiles into Israel from 17 January to 23 February 1991. The strategic and political goal of the Iraqi campaign was to provoke an Israeli military response and potentially jeopardize the United States-led coalition against Iraq, which had full backing and/or extensive contributions from an overwhelming majority of the states of the Muslim world and would have suffered immense diplomatic and material losses if Muslim-majority states rescinded their support due to the political situation of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Despite inflicting casualties on Israeli civilians and damaging Israeli infrastructure, Iraq failed to provoke Israeli retaliation due to pressure exerted by the United States on the latter to not respond to "Iraqi provocations" and avoid any bilateral escalations.

The Iraqi missiles were predominantly aimed at the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Despite numerous missiles being fired, a number of factors contributed to the minimisation of casualties in Israel. From the second attack onwards, the Israeli population were given a few minutes warning of an impending missile attack. Due to shared United States' satellite information on missile launches, citizens were given appropriate time to seek shelter from the impending missile attack.

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Last Updated: : Fri Jan 05 2024