air raid siren 88.
(photo credit: )
The sirens blare through the building as another missile slams into Tel Aviv.
Controllers start scanning the various screens installed on the wall to locate
the site of the strike.
“It’s Kikar Rabin,” one officer yells
A moment later, sirens go off again and another rocket scores a
direct hit – on the Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa, as hundreds of people stand
outside at ticket booths to purchase seats for the night’s upcoming soccer
After a few seconds a controller shouts that there is a chance one
of the missiles was carrying a nonconventional warhead.
“It is probably
chemical,” the officer says.
After a tense minute, a cloud is seen
gathering in the air directly above the impact site and starting to turn east.
The cloud is quickly identified as a chemical agent, unleashed from the
In the state’s 62 years of existence it has never been
attacked by a chemical or biological missile, but the Home Front Command is not
counting on that trend to continue.
To that end, it is preparing for a
wide range of scenarios, including the possibility that Hizbullah will one day
obtain chemical weapons, senior officers said on Thursday.
believed to have an advanced chemical and biological weapons program, including
sarin gas, mustard gas and the VX chemical warfare agent. It is also believed to
have hundreds of long-range Scud missiles that are capable of carrying a
To prepare for this possibility, the Home Front Command
awarded Elbit Systems Ltd. a multimillion- shekel contract two years ago to
build a state-of- the-art simulator to train commanders in dealing with the
fallout from nonconventional attacks.
The training simulator is stationed
at the Home Front Command headquarters near Ramle and includes 50 different
substations for medical teams, intelligence, purification and other disciplines.
On Thursday, the Home Front Command inaugurated the simulator and held its first
large-scale exercise – simulating the scenario detailed above, among others – to
train commanders how to respond to nonconventional missile attacks on Tel
According to Lt.-Col. Nir Golkin, head of research and development
in the Home Front Command, the simulator enables commanders to train for threats
that are almost impossible to drill in the field. “It is extremely difficult to
simulate a chemical missile attack in Tel Aviv,” he said. “On the simulator we
can insert all of the different parameters and make it seem as real as possible.
That way, we can test commanders in their ability to deal with the fallout and
dispersion of the chemical agent.”
The simulator also enables the Home
Front Command to review the results of the simulation immediately. “Take a
chemical warhead, for example,” Golkin said. “A commander sees the cloud and
needs to check the wind speed and direction, and announce to the public which
area to stay away from. In the simulator, we can see if he made the right or