( dpa ) - Israel began its largest-ever home-front emergency drill Sunday, meant to simulate responses to war and other emergency situations, such as a large-scale terrorist attack.
The five-day drill, dubbed "Turning Point 2," will inlcude security cabinet meetings aimed at examining the effectiveness of the decsion-making process during enemy attacks.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during Sunday's cabinet meeting that the exercise was "routine."
"I hope the Syrians know this and internalise this," he said, in a reference to recent tensions with Damascus.
"We have repeatedly said that we have an interest in conducting peace negotiations with Syria," he said. "They know what our expectations are, and we are aware of theirs."
The prime minister said the drill was a continuation of lessons learned during the July-August 2006 war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerillas. During that war, Hezbollah fired thousands of Katyusha missiles at Israeli population centres.
The operative part of the drill begins Monday, and will include, among other scenarios, simulated missile attacks on towns in populated areas.
Rescue services will simulate mass evacuation from hit zones - including those hit with chemical and biological weapons - and hospitals will practice treating thousands of casualties.