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"Highway of Death" Iraqi Army Armed Retreat from Kuwait 1991

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Uploaded on Apr 19, 2009

The Highway of Death refers to a road between Kuwait and Basra on which retreating units of the Iraqi army as well as Iraqi civilians were attacked and destroyed by American aircraft and ground forces during the United Nations Coalition offensive in the Gulf War, on the night of February 26-February 27, 1991, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of vehicles and the deaths of an unknown and disputed number of Iraqi soldiers and civilians. The scenes of carnage on the road are some of the most recognizable images of the war. According to Elaine Sciolino of the New York Times, the images suggested a turkey shoot and contributed to the war's resolution soon afterwards.

American attacks were conducted on two different roads: some 1,400-2,000 vehicles hit on the main Highway 80 north of Al Jahra (the "actual" Highway of Death) and, few days later, another 400-700 or so on the much-less known coastal road to Basra.

On the main highway, aircraft bombed the front and rear of the massive vehicle column of Iraqi Regular Army, trapping the convoy, and leaving sitting targets for later airstrikes. When visited by journalists the main highway had been reduced to a long uninterrupted line of destroyed, damaged, and abandoned vehicles, sometimes called the Mile of Death. The wreckage predominantly consisted of stolen civilian vehicles (such as cars, trucks, and buses) which were manned by Iraqi conscripts and the Palestinian fighters, accompanied by their family members fleeing the advancing Coalition forces.

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