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Images of Chaos, Pain, Surprise Amid the Debris


TEL AVIV — Once again, a Tel Aviv street was the scene of images of surprise, chaos and pain that are becoming familiar here: An injured woman, her arm covered with blood, being carried out on a stretcher; another stretcher patient, a man clutching his dog and rubbing a head wound; a young woman dazed and lightly bleeding from the head.

It was the third Iraqi missile attack on Israel and the most serious yet, leaving three dead and 70 injured, demolishing an apartment building and damaging dozens of neighboring houses.

Windows and shutters were blown out blocks away. Balconies along main and side streets were mangled, and broken pipes gushed water onto the street. Scores of ambulances, their red and blue lights spinning, and hundreds of police rushed to the site, which under Israeli censorship rules cannot be specifically located in print.

"I saw a girl I have been friends with since I was a child get hurt. It pains my heart," said Golan Crezizi, a neighbor who was uninjured.

"I thought that we would have a relaxing evening," said Meir Matsree, a resident of the neighborhood where the missile hit. "We watched TV and suddenly the sirens. Then we crawled under the bed. And then the big boom."

Retaliation was on the lips of startled residents of the battered neighborhood. Speaking of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader, neighborhood resident Uri Rotenberg declared: "He needs to be hit with an atom bomb. We have to finish him off. We're sick of it."

"I only hope they retaliate tonight," said Max Benjamin, who lives two blocks away from the devastated street where the warhead exploded. "We've waited long enough."

Amid the dead and injured, there was one encouraging sight: When civil defense officials raised a wall crumbled by the blast, they found three members of a family virtually unhurt.

Earlier, Tuesday was shaping up as a day when Tel Aviv and Haifa, cities hit by missiles last week, were to return to normal after a four-day shutdown in fear of more bombardments. Workers returned to their jobs, shops reopened and cafes bubbled with talk again here in Israel's largest and most sophisticated city. Workaday life in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities unhit by missiles had resumed Monday.

But normalcy is becoming a relative thing in Israel. Just after 8:30 p.m., a single Scud missile from Iraq struck a middle-class neighborhood here. The air raid sirens had already sent the entire country scurrying for their gas masks and huddling in rooms lined with plastic to keep out poison chemicals--which Iraq is known to have.

Even before the latest missile attack, Tel Aviv, a city that prides itself on carefree living, was struggling to carry on routine life. Government requests for people to return to work were peppered with cautions. Everyone should have gas masks at hand. Farmers near the Jordan River Valley were told to carry arms while at work and to keep in touch with walkie-talkies.

Tel Aviv's City Hall aired a special notice of a scheduled dynamite explosion at a construction site so that nearby residents would not mistake it for an incoming missile. To avoid concentrations of civilians that might be especially vulnerable to a missile attack, a ban on public gatherings was maintained, and banquet halls and theaters stayed closed. Schools were scheduled to reopen today, but with the Tel Aviv blast, that timing is in doubt.

Israelis were jittery. On a Tel Aviv street, the sound of a beeper telephone message going off was mistaken for a radio broadcast of an air raid alarm and sent pedestrians scurrying for cover. Rosa Saprigah, a sales clerk at the Elda Toy Store, admitted, "I still have a feeling of fear, but I can function with it, thank God."

Shoppers carrying gas masks slung over their shoulders began to browse again in the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv's largest mall, although merchants reported about half as many customers as usual. "It will take a little time," Rinat Aziz, a waitress at the La Francaise cafe, said of the slack business. "The lull will continue until people feel really secure."

After the night missile blast, the government maintained that daily life should proceed uninterrupted. "The idea is to resume normal living as much as possible," Brig. Gen. Nachman Shai, an army spokesman, said on radio. "This is not going to be a short war, but the longer people stay home near their sealed rooms, it isn't healthy."


Resumption of the missile attacks on Tel Aviv raises questions about military retaliation by Israel against Iraq. Just what kind of military force does Israel have? Israel is widely believed to have a nuclear capability; these are its conventional forces: AIR POWER

Fighter/Attack Aircraft

F-15A/B/C: 35

F-15C/D: 11

F-4E Phantom: 113

Kfir C2/C7F: 125

F-16A Fighting Falcon: 63

F-16C Fighting Falcon: 51

A-4J Skyhawk: 40

A-4N Skyhawk: 70


RF-4E: 15

RC-12D King Air (C-12 Huron): 6

RU-21A King Air: 3

E-2C Hawkeye (radar): 4

Boeing 707 electronic countermeasures: 6

Air-to-Air Missiles

No estimated numbers) AIM-9/9L Sidewinder

AIM-7E/F/M Sparrow III

Shafrir (Israel)

Python III (Israel)

Air-to-Surface Missiles

(No estimated numbers) AGM-65 Maverick

AGM-45 Shrike

AGM-62A Walleye

AGM-12 Bullpup

AGM-78 Standard (U.S.)

Gabriel III (Israel)

Luz (Israel)

Air Defense Force

MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile

MIM-23B Hawk/Improved Hawk surface-to-air missile

FIM-43 Redeye surface-to-air missile

M48 Chaparral air defense vehicle

M163 Vulcan air defense vehicle

20-millimeter TCM-20 twin towed gun


Tanks: 3,800

Armored recon. vehicles: 400

Armored personnel carriers: 10,380

Air defense vehicles, est.: 80

Artillery: 985

Mortars: 1,200

Multiple rocket launchers, no estimate

Anti-tank missiles, no estimate

Surface-to-surface missiles: 112

Helicopters: 237


Submarines: GAL class: 3

Fast attack missile craft: 31

Amphibious landing craft: 11

Patrol: 56

Source: U.S. Naval Institute Military Database

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