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PM approves funds to fortify gas, oil facilities

May 4, 2012 06:08

IDF working to improve defenses of privately owned factories that could leak ammonia into wider population.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370. (photo credit:Gali Tibbon/Pool)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has approved a special budget to fortify close to a dozen critical national infrastructure facilities to protect them against missile attacks in a war, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The prime minister made the announcement during a presentation the Home Front Command gave him earlier this month. Critical infrastructure includes gas, water and electricity.

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The amount of the funds approved was not disclosed.

“We are not where we need to be in our protection of critical infrastructure,” a senior IDF officer told the Post on Thursday.

The IDF is also working to improve the defenses of privately owned factories that contain large amounts of ammonia which, if leaked, could endanger population centers throughout the country.

During Operation Cast Lead, for example, the government was close to ordering the evacuation of a city in the South after an ammonia tanker was damaged and started leaking. The government ultimately decided not to do so after the leak was quickly repaired.

As a result, the Home Front Command is installing cameras and sensors to immediately detect if such a leak occurs.

The sensors would then be connected to the Home Front Command’s Operations Center, where the IDF would be able to learn about such damage in real time.

The army recently conducted an analysis of what would happen to the home front in a war. The predictions, widely reported in the media, are that hundreds of civilians could be killed by enemy missiles.

The analysis was based on missile attacks against Israel during the First Gulf War in 1990-91, the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in 2009, as well as on the type of missiles and rockets now in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The research included an analysis of the damage that could be inflicted on infrastructure in the home front.

The IDF believes that during a war, Hezbollah will try to hit military targets with its long-range rockets but would then shift its focus to infrastructure.
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