Nationwide Drill Simulates Large Scale Missile Attack

Israeli soldiers monitor the Lebanese-Israeli border as seen from the southern Lebanese village of Houla on Monday. (REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)
Israeli soldiers monitor the Lebanese-Israeli border as seen from the southern Lebanese village of Houla on Monday. (REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)

Rocket Reported Fired From Lebanon

On a day when a rocket was reportedly fired from south Lebanon into Israel, and against a backdrop of weeks of tension and threats of war with Syria, the Homefront Command held a national emergency response drill designed to simulate a large scale missile attack from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

So the sirens that wailed throughout the country on Monday, once in the morning and once again in the evening, sounded more threatening than usual in pre-announced drills of this kind.

Each time, at 12:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m., Israelis were asked to stop their activities and go
immediately to the nearest shelter and wait 10 minutes. The morning siren was meant primarily for workplaces and educational institutions; the evening one was intended for families to practice taking cover in their homes.

Vital public services, including hospitals and public transportation, carried on normally during the drill, as emergency responders went through a war scenario. Search and rescue forces of the IDF Home Front Command trained alongside police, Magen Dovid Adom, fire fighters and local authorities, in dealing with “collapsed buildings” in Nazareth and Yerushalayim, and a “direct hit” on the Knesset.

For the first time, text messages, posts on social networks and broadcast networks to warn civilians, were used.

Meanwhile on Monday, there were reports of a rocket fired from south Lebanon towards Israel.

Reuters cited Lebanese security sources to that effect, and residents of the northern Israeli town of Metulla said they heard a blast.

“An explosion was heard. Soldiers are searching the area. The cause is still being investigated,” an IDF spokeswoman said. A second Israeli military source said the explosion was probably caused by a mortar.

Residents in the Lebanese town of Marjayoun, about six miles from the Israeli border, also said they heard it.

However, later in the day, Lebanese officials denied the reports. A high-ranking Lebanese military official issued a denial, telling ‘Voice of Lebanon’ radio that “no rocket was fired on Israel.”

Also on Monday, an emergency response drill was also held in Lebanon. The drill, held in the city of Bint Jbeil, included rescue operations, first aid, casualty evacuation and extinguishing of fires.

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