Al Jahra

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Al Jahra
Al Jahra is located in Al- Andalus
Al Jahra
Al Jahra
Coordinates: 29°21′N 47°41′E / 29.350°N 47.683°E / 29.350; 47.683
Country  Kuwait
Governorate Al Jahra Governorate
Districts Al Jahra District
Population (2009)
 • Total 24,281
Time zone AST (UTC+3)

Al Jahra (Arabic: جهراء‎) is a city located 32 kilometres (20 mi) north-west of Kuwait City in Kuwait . Al Jahra is the capital of the Al Jahra Governorate of Kuwait as well as the surrounding Al Jahra District which is agriculturally based. Encyclopædia Britannica recorded the population in 1980 as 67,311.[1] However, since the Gulf War, the population has appeared to have declined, with a population of 14,658 people recorded in 1995 and an estimate of 24,281 as of 2009.[2]


Al Jahra was once dominated by agricultural land and began as a small oasis village.[3] Historically it became known as a notable trading point for camels and a stopping place on the way to Kuwait City. It gradually grew into a town along the historic Kuwait Red Fort.[4] Al Jahra was the site of the Battle of Jahra in 1920, a conflict between Kuwaiti and Saudi forces. Today, there is a national monument commemorating the battle. The conflict was settled in 1922 when King Abdul Aziz al-Saud recognized the independence of Kuwait in exchange for territory.

Gulf War[edit]

Demolished vehicles north of Al Jahra on the Highway of Death

During the Gulf War, the outskirts of Al Jahra was also the site of an infamous shootout with the Allied destruction of a stalled Iraqi convoy as it retreated up Mutla Ridge on Highway 80 between February 25 and 26, 1991. The US Army received orders by General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. to not let anybody in or out of Kuwait City and to effectively blockade the retreating Iraqi convoys within a 100-mile radius. He ordered the dispatching of many Apache helicopters of the Tiger Brigade of the US army's second armored division and 2nd marine division armed with anti-tank missiles to block the Iraqis.[5] Schwarzkopf commented in 1995 on the military action:[6]

The first reason why we bombed the highway coming north out of Kuwait is because there was a great deal of military equipment on that highway, and I had given orders to all my commanders that I wanted every piece of Iraqi equipment that we possibly could destroyed.

Secondly, this was not a bunch of innocent people just trying to make their way back across the border to Iraq. This was a bunch of rapists, murderers and thugs who had raped and pillaged downtown Kuwait City and now were trying to get out of the country before they were caught.

The onslaught that followed the orders resulted in 60 miles of wreckage of destroyed Iraqi tanks, ammunitions trucks, civilian vehicles and ambulances and mutilated soldiers, with over 2000 military and civilian vehicles destroyed. Bob Dogrin of the Los Angeles Times described the carnage,[5]

Scores of soldiers lie in an around the vehicles, mangled and bloated in the desert sands. Most were retreating on this two-lane road before midnight on 25 February, one of the huge caravans to flee ravaged Kuwait City as their army collapsed under the fast approaching blitzkrieg.

Dogrin later reported that a US Army intelligence officer, Major Bob Nugent who was involved in the search for Iraqi documents amongst the wrecked convoy remarked, "Even in Vietnam, I didn't see anything like this".[5] The highway has since become notoriously known as the "Highway of Death".[7]

Al Jahra oasis

Although the Iraqi forces were subdued, they destroyed a number of buildings outside Kuwait City too, such as a satellite antenna a short distance east of Highway 80 between the Al-Mutala Ridge and the Iraqi border at Abdaly.

Some of Kuwait's most noted families are from Al Jahra including Al Oraifan, Al Qahs, Al Ayar, Al Fowzan, Al Hajraf, Al Saeed, Al Kooh, Al Habishi, and Al Debbah.[citation needed]


Al-Jahra Hospital Main Entrance
Al-Jahra Hospital Nuclear Medicine and Radiology Building

A number of damaging fires have been known to have occurred in recent times in Al Jahra. On 25 August 2007, politician Massouma al-Mubarak was forced to resign from her post as health minister following a fire in a hospital which killed two patients.[8]

Then on August 15, 2009 a fire broke out at a wedding in Al Jahra. At least 49 people were killed and about 80 others wounded when the grooms' 23-year-old first wife, sought revenge for her husband's second marriage, poured petrol on a tent where women and children were celebrating and set it on fire. Within three minutes the whole tent, which had only one exit and did not meet fire safety regulations, was engulfed in flames, trapping many inside. It was the deadliest civilian disaster in Kuwait in the last 40 years.[9][10]


Police in the desert 20 miles outside Jahra in 1961

Al Jahra is located 32 kilometres (20 mi) north-west of Kuwait City and is connected by a series of ring roads. Highway 80 connects the city to Abdaly on the Iraqi border. The highway has become known as "The Highway of Death" due to its involvement in the Gulf War when the Allied troops destroyed an Iraqi convoy. The road was repaired during the late 1990s, and was used in the initial stages of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S. and British forces. Today there is a blue sign at the Multa'a Ranch turnoff reading, "God Bless U.S. Troops". The surrounding area is desert but tents are often seen located along the highway. The nearest airport is at Kuwait International Airport.


Al Jahra camel market, 1961

The main football team is Al Jahra (football club). They play at the 25,000 capacity Al Shabab Mubarak Alaiar Stadium. They have won the Kuwaiti league, under the old name of Kuwaiti Premier League once in 1990. They participated in the Kuwaiti Premier League 21 times during the 2007-2008 season. Al Jahra have reached the Kuwait Emir Cup Final twice in 1996 and 2002, when they lost to Al Arabi 1-2 and Kuwait Club 0-1 respectively.[11][12]

Khaima Mall in Al Jahra also contains a notable fish market.


  1. ^ "Jahra, al-." Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite.
  2. ^ World Gazetteer, Retrieved September 14, 2009
  3. ^ Beaumont, Peter; Mclachlan, Keith Stanley (1985). Agricultural development in the Middle East. Wiley. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-471-90762-6. 
  4. ^ Richard, Harold; Dickson, Patrick (1956). "Kuwait and her neighbours". Allen & Unwin, University of Michigan. p. 253. 
  5. ^ a b c Hiro, Dilip (2003). Desert Shield to Desert Storm: The Second Gulf War. Publisher iUniverse. pp. 387–389. ISBN 978-0-595-26904-4. 
  6. ^ Giordono, Joseph (February 23, 2003). "U.S. troops revisit scene of deadly Gulf War barrage". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  7. ^ Steuter, Erin; Wills, Deborah (2008). At war with metaphor: media, propaganda, and racism in the war on terror. Lexington books, University of Michigan. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7391-2198-6. 
  8. ^ "Kuwait health minister resigns after hospital fire". Reuters. 2007-08-25. 
  9. ^ Ex-wife admits Kuwait wedding arson, Al Jazeera (August 17, 2009)
  10. ^ Kuwait wedding fire death toll rises to 49 - official, Arabian Business (September 10, 2009). Accessed 2009-09-10. Archived 2009-09-12.
  11. ^ "Kuwait Emir Cup 1995/1996". Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Kuwait Emir Cup 2001/2002". Retrieved September 14, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°21′N 47°41′E / 29.350°N 47.683°E / 29.350; 47.683