Israel vulnerable to chemical attack

Former OC Home Front: Hand out gas masks only in face of imminent threat.

July 16, 2007 10:50
1 minute read.
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The home front is woefully under-protected from the dangers of a chemical weapons attack, according to a damning report released on Monday by a subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee headed by Likud MK Yuval Steinitz. The report's authors are urging that NIS 1 billion be spent this year to ensure that residents of Haifa and the North are provided with gas masks and other equipment in case of a chemical attack. The system by which gas masks have been collected from Israeli citizens to be renewed and stored in warehouses for distribution in the event of an emergency is flawed, according to the report. Assurances that such a distribution could be completed in a few days, if necessary, are empty, the report said. In fact, distribution would take many weeks, it said. Former OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Zeev Livne, told Army Radio on Monday that while the situation was not "particularly good," there was no need to worry. Livne said that gas masks should be collected en masse and handed out only in the face of an imminent threat. "Assuming that what's [in the report] is correct, the situation isn't encouraging regarding protection from chemical weapons. However, there is no need for hysteria… but [rather] to act, and I know that steps are being taken," the commander said.

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