Israel stages largest civil defence drill

April 8th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by admin  

Tel Aviv, April 8 (DPA) Sirens wailed throughout Israel Tuesday morning, as the country carried out its largest civil defence drill meant to simulate responses to war and other emergency situations like a large-scale terrorist attack. The drill, dubbed “Turning Point 2,” began Monday and will include, among other scenarios, simulated missile attacks on towns in populated areas.

Rescue services will simulate mass evacuation from hit zones - including those hit with chemical and biological weapons - and hospitals will practise treating thousands of casualties.

During the exercise, the security, or inner, cabinet will also conduct meetings throughout the exercise, aimed at examining the effectiveness of the decision-making process during enemy attacks.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s cabinet has come in for intense criticism for its performance during the July-August 2006 war with Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

In addition to its decision-making process during that conflict, the government has also been slammed for its unpreparedness, and that of the military’s Home Front Command, to the thousands of missiles Hezbollah launched at Israeli population centres.

Israel regards Iran as the biggest existential threat, given Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Elizer said Monday that the drill “does not simulate a fictitious situation. I think the future will be much harder that the reality we are familiar with.”

“I believe an initial strike on Israel would see hundreds of missiles hit us … all of Israel will be within range of Syrian and Hezbollah missiles,” he said.

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