Distribution of gas masks goes smoothly in nationwide drill

Hizbullah says it will target Israeli shipping if there’s war.

gas mask 311 (photo credit: AP)
gas mask 311
(photo credit: AP)
At schools, post offices and community centers across the country on Wednesday, soldiers from the Home Front Command handed out gas masks to citizens, to use in the event of a chemical or biological weapons attack.
At the Reading power station in north Tel Aviv, dozens of soldiers worked at eight stations handing out gas masks and showing people how to use them.
Capt. Eyal Cohen, who was supervising the facility, said that by the early afternoon around 200 people had arrived to pick up masks for themselves and their family members, and that so far the distribution was proceeding much like last year’s.
“For the most part it’s just like last year’s handout, but it seems that people are more aware of what we’re doing and are coming in larger numbers,” he said.
In the morning, air raid sirens sounded throughout the country and citizens were asked to enter the nearest bomb shelter or safe room.
During the day, OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen Yair Golan and US National Guard commander Maj.-Gen. Craig McKinley visited the Haifa Municipality, which has established a command-and-control system to oversee emergency situations throughout the city.
The system was developed by Elbit Systems, which established a surveillance network throughout the city that transmits data to a single command center in real time where it is processed and reviewed by municipal and military officials.
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on Tuesday that his fighters would attack Israeli ships in the Mediterranean if the Jewish state imposes a sea blockade on Lebanon in any future war.
Nasrallah said his Iranian-backed group is now capable of destroying any military or commercial ships heading to Israeli ports.
“In any future war, if you blockade our coasts and ports, all the military, civil and commercial ships heading to ports in occupied Palestine along the Mediterranean will come under Hizbullah rocket attack,” Nasrallah said.
Addressing supporters through a video link at a huge rally south ofBeirut, he reiterated threats that his group would rocket Ben-GurionAirport and other strategic targets if the IDF strikes Lebaneseinfrastructure as it did in 2006.
He added: “We are capable of targeting, striking and destroying yourships as they head to any port on the coast of occupied Palestine fromnorth to south.”
“When the world sees how these ships will be destroyed in the regionalwaters of occupied Palestine, nobody will dare go there anymore,” hesaid.
Nasrallah stressed his group did not want a new war but warned Israel it would incur heavy losses if it started a conflict.
The rally held on Tuesday marks 10 years since the IDF withdrew from a border strip in south Lebanon.
AP contributed to this report.