An Iraqi missile was shot down by a Patriot missile battery before it reached Kuwait, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

"Our radars detected a missile launched by Iraq.... It was shot down in southern Iraq before it entered our airspace," the army's Lt. Col. Awad Metawtah told Kuwaiti television.

He said a Patriot missile hit the Iraqi missile at 9:05 a.m. Sirens had sounded in Kuwait City, warning of what appeared to be at least the 17th missile that Iraq has fired at Kuwait since coalition troops invaded Iraq from Kuwait on March 20.

Before dawn Tuesday, an explosion resounded across the Kuwaiti capital, but Metawtah said it apparently resulted from a false alarm.

"A watch center suspected an enemy object in the northern area," he told television at the time. "An anti-missile missile was launched and exploded in the area."

On Saturday, a low-flying Iraqi missile crashed on a jetty in front of a major shopping center, causing minor damage to the building and two minor injuries.

U.S. Patriot missile batteries have been guarding Kuwait against a series of Iraqi missile attacks.