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News Release


Release No: 075-01
February 22, 2001


The Defense Department released today an updated version of its "Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia" case narrative. The report, first published in August 1997, presents the results of investigations into three suspected chemical warfare incidents at the port city of Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia, during the Gulf War.

The analysis of information obtained during the latest investigation of the "loud noise" event, which occurred on Jan. 19, 1991, shows that an Iraqi attack against Al Jubayl was definitely not the cause for the loud noise. However, investigators from the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses still cannot identify the source of a white cloud that was reported during the loud noise event or what caused some Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 to experience a burning sensation on their skin. For those reasons, the original assessment of "unlikely" regarding the presence of chemical warfare agents in Al Jubayl during the loud noise event remains "unlikely."

The assessments of the Scud impact event which occurred Feb. 16, 1991, and the "purple T-shirt" event on March 19, 1991, for the presence of chemical warfare agents remain "definitely not."

The case narrative centers on three main occurrences known as the loud noise event, the Scud impact event and the purple T-shirt event. The updated case narrative benefits from an expanded investigation and includes the investigation of two alternative scenarios for the loud noise event proposed by veterans. It also incorporates medical information pertaining to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24. Additional source documentation and other corroborative evidence strengthened the assessments of the original report.

Notable in this new information is the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence report of its own investigation of the loud noise event. The report, developed independent of the U.S. investigation, provided new information sources and supported the Defense Department's conclusions.

Case narratives and information papers are part of the Defense Department's continuing effort to inform the public of its efforts to better understand the nature and possible causes of the illnesses being experienced by many Gulf War veterans.

The "Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia" case narrative, along with the documentary evidence and personal interviews, is posted on the GulfLINK at http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/al_jub_ii .

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