Amid fears that proliferation of non-conventional weapons is on the rise, Israel will hold a series of exercises over the coming months aimed at preparing the country for potential biological, chemical and radioactive terrorist attacks.

One of the exercises, called “Dark Cloud,” will be held in January and will be the first time the Israeli defense establishment and emergency services simulate a radioactive “dirty bomb” terror attack in Israel.

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The exercise will be held in Haifa and will simulate a radioactive dirty bomb attack in the city and will involve the IDF’s Home Front Command, police and other emergency services. Roadblocks will be set up throughout the city and hospitals will also be tested for their level of preparedness for such an attack.

Later this week, the Defense Ministry will hold its annual “Orange Flame” exercise simulating a biological terror attack.

The ministry has a special branch responsible for preparing the country and its emergency services for a non-conventional terrorist attack.

The drill will be held in the North and will involve hospitals in Tiberias, Afula and Nazareth. Mock patients will arrive at the hospitals with various symptoms and doctors will need to diagnose and determine the biological agent that caused the symptoms.

The exercises are part of the ministry’s annual training regimen, but there is concern among Western countries and Israel that terrorist groups are working to obtain chemical and biological agents, possibly from countries in the Middle East, like Libya and Syria.

Syria is reported to have a significant arsenal of chemical weapons such as mustard gas, sarin and VX gas and there is concern that if President Bashar Assad’s government is toppled, it could fall into terrorist hands.

Libya was also discovered to have an arsenal of chemical weapons following the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi earlier this year, but it is currently believed to be under government control.

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