The Week in the Gulf

A summary of the second week of the Persian Gulf War, which began Jan. 17 (the afternoon of Jan. 16 in the United States). The day-by-day summary begins Jan. 21: MONDAY: JAN. 21

Iraq broadcast possibly forced statements by captured American pilots that criticized the allied war effort.

Patriot missiles thwarted Iraq’s early-morning missile attack aimed at Saudi Arabia.

Iraq said it scattered prisoners of war at targeted areas.



Iraqis fired six Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia before dawn. All were either intercepted or fell in unpopulated areas.

An Iraqi Scud missile evaded the U.S. Patriot anti-missile defense system and struck near Tel Aviv, leaving three people dead and wounding almost 100.

Iraq set some Kuwaiti oil facilities ablaze.



Early-morning skies cleared, and U.S. warplanes thundered off on more bombing runs against Iraq.

Two Americans were wounded in a clash with an Iraqi patrol just inside Saudi Arabia. Six Iraqis were captured.

About 50 Iraqi aircraft, out of an estimated 800, were reported destroyed.

After some 12,000 sorties, Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said allied forces had achieved air superiority and now intended to focus attacks on Iraqi ground forces around Kuwait.

About 10:30 p.m. Israeli time, for the fourth time since the Gulf War started, Israel came under an Iraqi missile barrage. No one was reported injured. Air raid sirens also sounded at about the same time in Saudi Arabia.

Fire continued to rage at an oil field in southern Kuwait.



A brief skirmish high above the Persian Gulf marked a series of firsts in the war: the first attempted Iraqi combat jet attack, the first air-to-air kill by a Saudi pilot and the first double kill by any coalition flier. The clash involved a Saudi pilot who shot down two Iraqi jets carrying Exocet missiles capable of sinking allied shipping in the gulf.

Kuwait’s news agency claimed that allied forces drove Iraqi troops from a Kuwaiti island, the first piece of emirate territory reported freed from Iraq occupation. A U.S. military spokesman said 51 Iraqis were taken prisoner and three were killed in a battle at the island and a raid on nearby minesweepers.


Military officials claimed that Iraq sabotaged Kuwait’s main supertanker loading pier, dumping millions of barrels of crude oil into the Persian Gulf. Officials feared it could dwarf the 11-million-gallon Alaska oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989.

Missiles fired from western Iraq struck in the Tel Aviv and Haifa areas Friday, killing one Israeli and wounding 66. Saudi Arabia also was struck by Scuds. One person died in the attack near downtown Riyadh, the Saudis’ first missile fatality, and 30 were injured.

Many captured Iraqi soldiers were reportedly covered with lice when taken prisoner by allied forces. The POWs said they had been receiving only one a meal a day in Iraq.

The Pentagon said the past 24 hours allowed for the busiest day of the air campaign, with 2,707 sorties flown in good weather.

The exiled government of Kuwait gave $13.5 billion toward the Persian Gulf War effort.



“Smart” bombs were fired by U.S. F-111s at oil facilities in Kuwait to stop the spill of as much as 100,000 barrels of crude oil a day into the Persian Gulf. The slick had been drifting toward Saudi water plants, and part of it had already been reported ablaze.

Along the northern front lines, Iraqi forces and troops of the U.S.-led coalition exchanged harassment fire.


Two F-15 fighter jets shot down four Iraqi MIG-23s southeast of Baghdad, the top U.S. field commander reported. No American planes were lost in the past 48 hours, the allied command in Saudi Arabia said.

Roughly 39 Iraqi aircraft have flown to neighboring Iran since the war began, the allied command said. This included 23--most of them fighter aircraft--in the past 24 hours. They apparently were fleeing American air attacks or Saddam Hussein’s government.

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney conceded that air attacks alone would not drive Iraq out of Kuwait. But Cheney said the final go-ahead for a ground war remained a presidential decision.

British fliers apparently knocked out a Silkworm missile site in Iraq, a British commander reported. He said the Chinese-made missile could have posed a threat to allied navy or merchant ships.