Israel simulates large-scale missile attack
Israel began a five-day, nationwide drill Sunday, simulating a massive missile attack on the country, DPA reported.
The exercise, codenamed Turning Point 5, includes a number of scenarios, including a strike on a power plant, missiles being fired at targets across the country and one of hackers breaching into key Israeli computer systems.
Municipalites, government offices, schools and kindergartens are to practice evacuating their buildings. Rescue services will also practise the evacuation of a geriatric hospital near Tel Aviv and of a factory housing hazardous materials.
On Wednesday, all of Israel's 7.7 million citizens will be asked to participate. Sirens are scheduled to sound twice across the country, in the morning and in the evening, and residents have been asked to rush to protected rooms and shelters, where they are to stay for 10 minutes.
Israel has been holding similar nation-wide drills over the past five years, in response to critics who said the government and the Israeli military's Home Front Command had been ill-prepared for the 2006 Second Lebanon War, in which the radical Shiite Hezbollah movement fired thousands of missiles at northern Israel during 33 days of heavy combat.
"The national exercise is aimed at preparing for extremely severe and tough scenarios," Home Front Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told Israel Radio.
Israel's "power of deterrence" and its ability "to deal a tough blow" would make anyone think twice before pondering an attack against it, he warned, but added that his country "must be prepared, also for difficult scenarios" in which hundreds of missiles hit the country at the same time.