Casualties and Damage from Scud Attacks in the 1991 Gulf War

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George N. Lewis, Steve Fetter, and Lisbeth Gronlund, Casualties and Damage from Scud Attacks in the 1991 Gulf War (Cambridge, MA: Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 1993)



The proliferation of ballistic missiles has in recent years become a major international security concern. This increased concern is in part due to the highly visible role played by Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. However, it is also due to the widespread -- but incorrect -- perception that even conventionally-armed ballistic missiles are tremendously destructive. This perception that ballistic missiles are inherently weapons of great destructive capability may have played a key role in the politics of the Gulf War. Iraq fired more than 80 modified Scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, causing 31 deaths, numerous injuries, and substantial property damage. However, with the exception of the Scud that hit a barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and killed 28 U.S. soldiers, the number of casualties caused by these Scuds was much lower than was generally anticipated.


See also 1994 update.