Iraqi Missile Hits Kuwait City, One Injured: Minister

Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah said on Saturday one people was slightly injured in a missile attack, which hit Souk Sharq, one of Kuwait's largest shopping malls near the center of the city.

The missile, a short-range one, was apparently fired from the Iraqi side, the minister said. The attack came shortly before 02:00a.m. Saturday (2300 GMT Friday), caused significant damage to the shopping mall, which is near the parliament building.

The minister said it was the third such missile launched by Iraq to hit Kuwait. The air defense system did not pick up the missile because of its low-flying ability and the air raid sirens did not sound to alert people.

A Xinhua reporter at the scene said a huge explosion was heard in the capital of Kuwait and black smokes were seen rising in the downtown areas in the city. Emergency crews were seen rushing to the site of the explosion. The huge explosion smashed the windows of the building.

When asked by reporters whether Kuwait would join the ongoing US-led war against Iraq, the Kuwaiti minister said his country willonly take measures to protect itself from attacks and invasions, claiming Kuwait will lodge protest at the Iraqi attacks to the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Since the US-led war on Iraq started on March 20, Iraq has launched more than dozen of missiles at Kuwait, with most of the missiles intercepted by Patriot batteries.

No casualties and property damage were caused by the previous retaliatory missile attacks from Iraq.

CNN reported early Friday that coalition warplanes had destroyed a surface-to-surface missile launcher in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, which was considered responsible for the missile attacks on Kuwait.

Kuwait, which was liberated by the US-led coalition from the seven-month Iraqi occupation in the 1991 Gulf War, has not joined directly the invasion of Iraq, but rather served as a launching pad for the US-led coalition forces in attacking Iraq.

People's Daily Online ---