Sirens wail as Israel civil-defence drill peaks
Air raid sirens wailed across Israel Wednesday morning, simulating a missile attack and sending people rushing to "secure" rooms in what was scheduled as the climax of a 5-day nation-wide civil defence exercise testing national preparedness, DPA reported.
The exercise, code-named "Turning Point 4," got under way Sunday, and involves thousands of soldiers, police and rescue service personnel.
In addition to the simulated missile attack, the drill also includes exercises in rescuing trapped or wounded civilians, evacuating them from zones under rocket fire and temporarily resettling them in safer areas.
Gas-mask distribution stations were also opened.
"Every country in the world trains for emergency scenarios like earthquakes and fires. Here in Israel we train for those, as well as for enemy attacks," the Jerusalem Post quoted Colonel Chilik Soffer, a senior officer in the Home Front Command, as saying.
The drill is slated to last until Thursday.
The exercise comes as tensions have been rising along the Israel- Lebanon border. Officials from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group have accused Israel of planning a war, while Israeli officials have repeatedly insisted the Jewish state had no intention of initiating hostilities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated this on Sunday, telling ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that the drill "is not the result of any exceptional security development."