News / Middle East

Israel Launches 5-Day Civil Defense Drill

Israeli soldiers from the Home Front Command take part in a drill simulating a building collapse following a mock rocket attack at Zikim army base, near the southern city of Ashkelon, June 19, 2011
Israeli soldiers from the Home Front Command take part in a drill simulating a building collapse following a mock rocket attack at Zikim army base, near the southern city of Ashkelon, June 19, 2011
Robert Berger

With the Middle East in turmoil, Israel is preparing for the possibility of a regional war.  

As part of preparations for such a scenario the country has begun a five-day civil-defense drill to deal with the threat of a massive missile and rocket bombardment from several fronts: Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Gili Shenhar is a spokesman for the Israeli army's Home Front Command, which is leading the exercise.

"We understand that in the Middle East, we have to be prepared for all kinds of scenarios. So we are going to conduct all kind of scenarios including unconventional weapons."

In one exercise, authorities will simulate the evacuation of 300,000 people from hard hit areas to safer ground.

"We are going to conduct, also, drills that will be in the field, like hospitals, like all kinds of airplanes that crash, like taking people and evacuating from several places.  So this is going to be a very big drill with all local authorities in Israel."

The drill takes place against the backdrop of Iran's nuclear program and its threats to wipe Israel "off the map."  Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel and the United States believe Teheran is developing nuclear weapons.

Israel has threatened to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, though defense officials warn that could spark a major regional war. In a worst-case scenario, Iran would bombard Israel with missiles and be joined by its well-armed regional allies: Syria, and the Islamic militant groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.  

Shenhar says the Home Front Command hopes to raise public awareness through the exercise.

"The goal with the public is really to understand that we have to prepare, and if you prepare in advance, it is much better for the public and for us."

The army says that in the event of a war fought on several fronts, up to 800 missiles and rockets a day could be fired into Israel.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid