Israel launches nationwide military drill

May 31st, 2009 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, May 31 (Xinhua) Israel Sunday launched a five-day civil defence exercise, simulating an attack on the Jewish state, a media report said.
The drill, named Turning Point 3, will be the most extensive ever held in the country, the daily Ha’aretz reported.

The exercise is to practice new measures to safeguard civilians, the report said. The exercise will spread to the entire country Tuesday.

The Israeli cabinet held a special session Sunday to discuss the preparedness for the military drill. The government will open its emergency headquarters to rehearse various scenarios, according to the report.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet ministers in the briefing that the drill was a “routine” procedure and not directed against any “regional entity”.

“This is a routine action intended to prepare the Home Front for emergency and has nothing to do with intelligence information of any kind,” he was quoted as saying.

“We are required to defend Israel, its cities, various installations, from the possibility of attacks by missiles, rockets or other weapons,” the prime minister said.

On Tuesday morning, after a siren goes off nationwide, the public will be asked to enter the protected spaces and shelters at home, work and schools. Tuesday and Wednesday would see various exercises in a number of municipalities. On Thursday, the police would practice rescue drills for helping people trapped in high-rise buildings.

Some 70 foreign officials and military representatives from countries such as the US, Turkey, Japan, France and Germany are expected to observe the drill, the report said. The Israeli defence authorities would also hold a symposium with the foreign delegates.

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