Israeli Soldiers Treat Civilians in Simulated Attacks


Soldiers treated "wounded" civilians on Tuesday as Israel simulated a chemical weapons attack as part of its annual civil defense drill, which comes against a backdrop of tension on its borders with Syria and an increasingly unstable Lebanon.

In the city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, 150 troops evacuated civilians to a field hospital set up in a sports stadium and "contained" the area, simulating a chemical warhead attack, an army spokeswoman told Agence France Presse.

Soldiers meanwhile showered down comrades as if they had been exposed to toxic agents, at a water park converted into an emergency center for the exercise, she said.

During the national civil defense drill, which began Sunday and would finish Wednesday, the army tested its alert system, sounding sirens in civilian areas and using the Internet, mobile phone messaging, TV local radio to put out warnings of an attack.

Schools were evacuated, and families were instructed to rush from their homes to the nearest shelter, as they would during a missile attack.

This year the exercise focused specifically on the threat of unconventional weapons, high-ranking military officials said.

"This exercise is set up to prepare for emergencies such as attacks of hundreds of missiles per day, missiles tipped with chemical warheads," General Eyal Eisenberg, chief of home front defense, told a news conference on Monday.

Israel has warned that Syria's chemical weapons arsenal could fall into the wrong hands and has carried out several air raids inside Syria on convoys it says were delivering arms to its arch-foe and Damascus ally, Hizbullah.

Last week an Israeli army patrol in the Golan Heights came under fire from Syrian regime forces located across the border in the disputed territory.

It was the latest of a number of incidents in Israeli-occupied Golan in the past few months which have included explosions of stray shells and small-arms fire from Syria.

"Our enemies won't try in the next war to conquer Israeli territory, but will fire missiles at civilian targets," home front defense minister Gilad Erdan said during an inspection of a school.

But he earlier played down the risk of a chemical attack on the Jewish state from Syria.

"This is a scenario that is more probable than in the past, but the use of chemical weapons is still defined as a low probability," he told Israeli television on Saturday, "even taking into consideration the fall of the (President Bashar) Assad regime."

"Our enemies know that the use of chemical or non-conventional weapons at the citizens of Israel will provoke a harsh and destructive response," he warned.

Israel fought a devastating war in 2006 with Hizbullah during which the Jewish state's arch-foe fired thousands of missiles over the border.

The 34-day war devastated parts of Lebanon and killed 1,200 people there, mainly civilians, while 60 Israelis -- 41 civilians and 19 soldiers -- died in the conflict.

Israel boosted security measures after launching its air strikes in Syria, deploying two batteries of the Iron Dome missile defense system to the north.

The Syrian conflict has repeatedly spilled over into neighboring Lebanon.

Two rockets hit Hizbullah's heartland in Beirut on Sunday, and 31 people were killed in the preceding week in the northern port city Tripoli in clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime.

"The threats against the Israeli home front have significantly increased in recent years," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

"Israel is the most threatened state in the world; it is under missile and rocket threat. We are prepared for any scenario," he said.

The annual drill, the seventh of its kind, encompassed the army's home front command, the defense ministry, government bodies, municipalities and local authorities, rescue organisations and school systems.

Comments 4
Missing anti_war 28 May 2013, 18:03

God bless? Those who curse the very person who's image you use as your avatar?

Thumb primesuspect 28 May 2013, 18:14

Is this news! ? In Japan they train against earthquakes, in south Korea against nuke attacks.... In. Israel against BS attacks.... In Lebanon, they don't train, there's no money.

Thumb primesuspect 28 May 2013, 18:15

You're a perv.

Missing peace 28 May 2013, 18:34

"almost all naharnet users already get wet at the mention of israel (:"

true sign of a demented M8 mind... all those against your M8 gang are therefore with isralel....
nothing to envy george bush for... you have the same binary sionist way of thinking...