Home Front Command to simulate missile attacks in drill

Simulation to involve all three missile defense systems - Arrow, Iron Dome and David's Sling - in scenario involving hundreds of "missiles."

June 16, 2011 01:42
2 minute read.
The Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.

Iron Dome 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The IDF will begin a nationwide civil defense exercise next week that will include the largest-ever simulation of missile interceptions held by the air force.

The air force simulation will involve all of its missile defense systems – Arrow, Iron Dome and David’s Sling. The scenario will include hundreds of “missiles” fired into Israel from several fronts. The Home Front Command will receive a detailed analysis of the number of “missiles” that the IAF succeeds in “intercepting” and those it does not.

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During the weeklong drill, called Turning Point 5, the Home Front Command, the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Administration, the Israel Police and other emergency services will test their responses to a massive bombardment of Israel by missiles fired from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Iran.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry is in talks with the Finance Ministry in an effort to obtain the remaining budget it requires to manufacture the almost three million gas masks that the home front needs, and to complete distribution to the Israeli public.

By the end of the year, only 60 percent of the country will have gas masks and NIS 1.4 billion is still missing from the defense budget to order masks and protective kits for the remaining 40%.

A senior defense official said on Wednesday that the Defense Ministry planned to conclude negotiations with the Treasury regarding the missing budget by the end of the year.

“We do not want to reach a stage where we will have to shut down the production line since we will not have a budget and then the entire process will be delayed,” the official said.

The exercise will begin on Sunday with the participation of some 80 municipalities and local authorities and will reach its peak on Wednesday when air raid sirens will sound twice throughout the country, once in the morning and once at night. During the exercise, the Home Front Command will use a new system which can send missile warnings to cellular phones.

On Wednesday, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg took up his post as the new commander of the Home Front Command in place of Maj.- Gen. Yair Golan who will move next month to the Northern Command. Eisenberg last served as commander of the Gaza Division.

Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said during the ceremony that Israel was under greater risk today due to the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East.

“Israel is in the middle of the storm that is shaking the Middle East,” Gantz said. “The IDF needs to stand strong and do everything that it can so Israel can remain an island of security among the Arab revolutions.”

During the drill, the Home Front Command and Defense Ministry will also simulate the evacuation of 300,000 people from northern and central Israel to the South. IDF sources said that it was possible that in a future war with Hezbollah or Syria, hundreds of thousands of Israelis would evacuate their homes, and as a result the IDF has drawn up plans to create housing and infrastructure for the evacuees if needed. There is also a possibility that the evacuees will be housed in empty IDF bases.

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