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Israel Lowers Level of Alert - 2003-04-13

Israel has lowered its state of alert regarding a possible missile attack from Iraq.

The Israeli Defense Ministry issued a statement saying citizens no longer need to take precautions for a possible chemical or biological attack from Iraq. Israelis are now allowed to unseal their safe rooms and put away their gas masks.

Thousands of Israeli reservists in the army are also to be relieved of duty.

Israel waited several days past the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to lift its war emergency orders, for fear that pro-Saddam loyalists might still fire off missiles from sites not located by coalition forces.

But following a briefing from senior army officials, it was determined that it is unlikely such a threat now exists.

But some measure of alert will remain for the time being, including the deployment of the Arrow interceptor missile batteries to handle any attempted rocket or aerial attacks against Israel.