TEL AVIV (Feb. 25)
As allied troops pushed into Kuwait and Iraq, executing the long-anticipated ground war, two Scud missile alerts kept Israelis awake through the early hours of Monday morning.
Following sirens that sounded at 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. local time, the missiles, fired from western Iraq, came down on Israel but caused no casualties or damage.
They were the 38th and 39th missiles launched at Israel from western Iraq since the Persian Gulf war began five weeks ago, and the first since the ground assault was launched in the week-hours of Sunday morning.
Civil defense authorities said the missiles landed in the area designated Zone 6, which covers the southern part of the country, including the Negev.
The alert did not stop longshoremen at Haifa port from unloading eight Dutch Patriot anti-missile batteries sent to Israel by the Netherlands government to help in its defense.
The Patriots arrived by sea from Bremer-haven, Germany. They will be operated by Dutch air force specialists who flew to Israel on Sunday.
The Dutch Patriots, of the type designed to bring down enemy aircraft, will have to be modified to intercept missiles. Israel Radio said they would be deployed in the Jerusalem area.
Meanwhile, Israel Radio, which had stopped broadcasting weather reports since the war started, advised Israelis on Monday that a line of thunder storms was working its way south through the country and said not to panic if they hear loud noises.