Comptroller: Parts of IDF unprepared for chemical weapons attack

Declassified report slams IDF for having insufficient gas masks for one of the branches of the armed forces.

By
March 12, 2014 16:33
1 minute read.
Israeli soldiers evacuate a mock victim during a drill simulating a chemical attack May, 2013.

IDF home front command drill gas masks 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Wednesday slammed the IDF for having insufficient gas masks for one of its branches.

The declassified report on defense issues that was released to the public did not specify which branch.

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The full classified version of the document was presented to a subcommittee of the Knesset State Control Committee, but was kept secret for national security reasons.

The declassified report reviewed the readiness of the IDF to cope with chemical warfare issues, covering the period of January to August 2013.

Shapira reviewed how the military generally relates to chemical weapons threats, its readiness for specific attack scenarios, and the preparedness of the infantry, medical forces and other specific units.

He also looked at the IDF’s readiness for a chemical weapons attack from the perspective of equipment, logistics and planning.

The report noted that much of its conclusions were based on internal evaluations conducted by the military and by the Defense Ministry’s units for conducing readiness inspections.

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The report reviewed the status of implementing changes in response to criticisms in earlier Comptroller’s Reports, Shapira said.

The IDF’s training exercises were insufficient for maintaining the necessary battle-level readiness, he said, in particular pointing out that some exercises were taking place without using equipment that would be need to be needed in the event of a real attack.

The IDF must press ahead with correcting the deficiencies cited in the report, the comptroller said.

In fall 2013, Shapira and the High Court of Justice blasted the state for a shortage and other deficiencies in gas mask distribution to the general population.

But in February, the state stopped distributing gas masks to civilians.

There is an ongoing debate in the country about to what extent the state must invest in defending against chemical weapons attacks now that Syria has promised to permit its chemical weapons stockpile to be eliminated.

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