Home Front to develop new nonconventional missile siren

In face of potential chemical and biological attacks, the IDF Home Front Command is to develop a special siren.

June 21, 2010 03:58
2 minute read.
Soldiers wearing gas masks during a drill

gas mask drill 311. (photo credit: AP [file])


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In face of a potential war that could involve chemical and biological attacks against Israel, the IDF Home Front Command is planning to develop a special siren for non-conventional missiles, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The possibility of using two different sirens during a future conflict – one for conventional missiles and the other for missiles carrying non-conventional warheads – came up during the nationwide civil defense exercise that was held last month called Turning Point 4.

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Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the IDF Home Front Command has invested in improving Israeli warning systems and has doubled, the number of sirens stationed throughout the country to a whopping 3,100.

The command is currently working on installing sirens in military bases as well.

Now, the Home Front Command is working to create two sirens – one for regular missiles and the other for missiles with either biological, chemical or nuclear warheads.

“There is no reason for someone to have to go into a sealed room and put on a gas mask when we know for sure that the missile fired into Israel is conventional,” a senior Home Front Command officer told the Post.

The issue becomes complicated in the event of an all-out war between, for example, Israel, Hizbullah, Hamas and Syria. While Hamas and Hizbullah are not believed to have nonconventional capabilities, Syria is known to have a large stockpile of chemical weapons and has worked on developing biological weapons as well.

Last year, the former head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt.- Gen.. Michael D. Maples, told the US Senate that Damascus did not have a biological weapon but was at the stage where it knew how to manufacture one.

“Based on the duration of Syria’s long-standing biological warfare program, we judge some elements of the program may have advanced beyond the research and development stage and may be capable of limited agent production,” he said at the time.

It is, however, difficult to know if a missile fired at Israel is carrying a biological or chemical warhead.

“Most of the identification of the missile is done through intelligence,” the senior officer said, adding that the IDF would only operate the regular siren in Israel for a missile fired from a country with nonconventional capabilities if it was certain that the missile was carrying a conventional warhead.

“Sometimes we will have to take the more stringent approach,” he admitted.

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