IDF predicts missile attacks on J'lem in future war

Capital was previously believed to be safe due to its holy sites, large Arab population.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
January 3, 2012 02:41
2 minute read.
General view of the Old City

Jerusalem old city 260. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

 
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The army recently updated threat scenarios for every major city in Israel – and for the first time predicted that missiles might hit Jerusalem, even in a relatively minor conflict.

The threat scenarios – as they are called in the IDF – are compiled by the Home Front Command and are based on intelligence collected regarding the enemy’s intentions, as well as its capabilities. The municipalities and local councils are then provided an estimated number of missiles they can expect to face in a conflict and are advised on how they should prepare.

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For years, the defense establishment widely assumed that Israel’s enemies – primarily Hezbollah and Syria – would avoid targeting Jerusalem due to the relatively large Arab population in the city, and the fear that Muslim holy sites such as the Aksa Mosque would accidentally be hit.

“That is no longer the case,” a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post. “We now believe that in a future war, there’s a possibility that Jerusalem will also come under missile fire even from the Gaza Strip.”

The Home Front Command recently presented the threat scenario to the Jerusalem Municipality.

According to the IDF, the capital, which is in the range of Syrian and Hezbollah missiles, could also come under fire during a smaller conflict with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Both terrorist organizations are believed to possess Iranian rockets that have the ability to strike Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.



City Councilor Elisha Peleg (Likud), who holds the portfolio for Security, Emergency Services and Fire and Rescue, said the municipality was aware of the new relevant scenarios.

“We are getting ready for all the scenarios, and residents will get the best security and defense that they need,” he said.

Peleg added that the city was in the process of finding money in the budget for more bomb shelters, though not necessarily in response to the updated scenarios, but because the it was always trying to build more public bomb shelters.

The preparations were not unique to the capital, he said. “Now missiles can hit every place in the country,” he said.

One of the major challenges in Jerusalem is the diverse population and the relatively old construction, leaving almost entire neighborhoods without bomb shelters and protected rooms.

To reach out to the haredi sector, the Home Front Command recently drafted 20 ultra-Orthodox soldiers who would be responsible for visiting haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem such as Mea She’arim, clearing out bomb shelters and preparing protected rooms.

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