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Iraq: Desert Dispatch -- U.S. Troops React To Reports Of Missile Attack

RFE/RL correspondent Ron Synovitz is traveling with the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division. He could not tell us his exact location, but he was last confirmed in northern Kuwait not far from the Iraqi border. He filed this report at 3:30 p.m. Prague time today.

QUESTION: What are you hearing about the missile attack from Iraq on Kuwait today?

SYNOVITZ: U.S. military intelligence sources have [told me] that two Scud missiles were shot down by Patriot missile-defense systems in Kuwait today. The reaction of the U.S. forces to the firing of those missiles has been massive movements of troops -- troops from both the [Third U.S. Army] infantry division and the U.S. Marine Corps are on the move today.

QUESTION: How have the soldiers around you reacted to news of the attack?

SYNOVITZ: Many of the U.S. troops here are very angry about the Scud missile launch and they are wanting to see immediate retaliatory strikes by U.S. B-52 bombers and by Tomahawk cruise missiles. We have not heard a lot of air traffic in the area, however I can confirm hearing some air strikes near some Iraqi border positions.

QUESTION: What is happening now around you? What can you tell us?

SYNOVITZ: U.S. troops near the border with Iraq were seen to be putting on their biological and chemical protection suits -- this includes their jackets and trousers. However, they have not gone to a higher alert level, which would entail putting on boots, gloves, and gas masks.