Security Drill in Eilat Focuses on New Airport

The new Ramon Airport, near the southern city of Eilat. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A major security drill was taking place Thursday in the Eilat area, with large numbers of security personnel carrying out operations in and around the city. The drill includes exercises at the newly opened Ramon Airport north of the city. Police said that the drill is designed to test response to “extreme scenarios” that could take place.

While generally quiet, Eilat has in the past been the target of terrorists; al-Qaida-linked terrorists have several times fired missiles at the city. With the opening of the new international airport, security officials believe that the larger numbers of tourists expected to visit the city will make it a more attractive target for terrorists, and thus the need for improved security responses.

IDF soldiers overnight Wednesday seized weapons that were to be used in terror attacks. Soldiers, working with police, discovered weapons in a house in the village of Ya’abad in northern Shomron. Among the weapons were pistols, hand grenades, and a large amount of ammunition. The owner of the house was arrested and questioned on what the weapons were doing there.

In a statement, the army said that such weapons were used in terror attacks as well as for criminal activity, and that security forces were determined to seize all weapons that were being held illegally by all people, in order to better protect all Israelis and residents of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, who are also under threat by terrorists and criminals.

Overnight Wednesday, security officials said they arrested 18 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.