Medical aspects of the Iraqi missile attacks on Israel

Isr J Med Sci. Nov-Dec 1991;27(11-12):603-7.


During the period 18 January-28 February 1991, a total of 39 Iraqi modified Scud missiles landed in Israel, most of them in the densely populated Tel Aviv area. There were 23 missile attack alerts. These attacks caused 1,059 cases of injury; there were two deaths and 232 patients were admitted to emergency rooms for injuries directly related to the explosions, only one of which was severe. A survey among 91 of the injured showed that 46.6% of the wounds were caused by glass splinters, 31.1% were blunt contusions, and 22.2% were acute psychological reactions. No case of blast injury was reported. Inappropriate injection of atropine was reported in 230 cases. Acute anxiety was the reason for admission of 544 patients to emergency rooms. Another 40 patients sustained various traumas while rushing to the sealed room. The relatively low number of injured people is striking in view of the density of population in the areas hit. Various explanations are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Atropine / poisoning
  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Civil Defense / standards
  • Drug Overdose / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / standards
  • Warfare*
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality


  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Atropine