Air-raid sirens blared across Israel Monday afternoon in the first of two home front drills simulating a massive missile attack on the country.
The first siren was aimed at practicing safety measures for day cares, schools, and workplaces. A later evening siren is intended for families. The drill, dubbed “National Steadfast Home Front 1,” runs through Wednesday.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the drill in his remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting, Sunday:
In recent years we have significantly increased the preparedness of the home front vis-à-vis such attacks and other stacks. We are investing billions so that the home front will be better protected and better prepared. We are investing in Iron Dome, sirens, shelters, structural reinforcement, and improved early warning systems. We will make legislative changes so as to adapt the legal reality in the State of Israel to the security reality and the concomitant threats. An appreciable proportion of these changes have already been seen. It was possible to see them in the functioning of the home front during Operation Pillar of Defense, but even so one must remember that it is difficult to achieve complete protection. In the end, no protection can be a substitute for the striking power of the IDF and the stamina and strength of the Israeli public in time of attack.
Last year, Israel’s head of military intelligence, Gen. Aviv Kochavi estimated that there are some 200,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel by its enemies. They are stationed in Iran, and fielded by Iran’s Hezbollah terror proxy in Lebanon, its Hamas terror proxy in the Gaza Strip, and its Damascus client in Syria.
Reports from mid-May indicate that Syria has targeted Israeli population centers with half-ton warheads:
According to The Sunday Times, Syria has deployed advanced missiles carrying 500-kilogram (1100-pound) warheads with attack coordinates set for Tel Aviv. The report further suggests that spy satellites have been monitoring Syrian army movements and preparations to deploy the domestically produced Tishreen missiles. The missiles are reportedly being aimed at Tel Aviv and there are standing orders to fire them if Israel strikes Syria… The reported Tishreen deployment marks a new level of escalation between Syria, which has been embroiled in a bloody two-year civil war, and Israel, which has made every effort to avoid becoming involved in the neighboring conflict, save preventing Hezbollah from obtaining the regime’s most advanced weapon systems.
A rocket reportedly fired yesterday at Israel from inside Lebanon was taken as underscoring the urgency of the drills. Lebanese security sources said a rocket was fired from south Lebanon towards Israel overnight, and residents in the northern Israeli town of Metulla reported hearing an explosion, but the Israeli army said that if a rocket had indeed been fired, it didn’t make it into Israeli territory. Israeli radar also did not detect any incoming rounds.
Subsequent reports indicated that the rocket appeared to have been fired at Israel from the area around the Lebanese town of Marjayoun, about 9 km from Israeli border.
The launch came weeks after declarations by Hezbollah officials that they would attack Israel on behalf of the Assad regime.
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