New Israeli missile alert system successfully warns of attack

Friday, October 15, 2004

TEL AVIV Israel's newly-modified missile alert system has been deemed operational.

The system was said to have worked smoothly this week and alerted Israeli authorities to the launch of Kassam-class short-range missiles from the northern Gaza Strip. Officials said the system, called "Reliable Network," was meant to warn civilian authorities and residents of the Israeli city of Sderot, the target of most Kassam attacks.

Officials said the system, developed by Rafael, Israel Armament Development Authority, spotted two Kassam missiles on Oct. 13 and automatically relayed an alert over the civil defense network. Loudspeakers throughout Sderot broadcast the Hebrew equivalent of "Red Dawn," the code for a Kassam attack.

[On Friday, Israel's military wound down its operation in the northern Gaza Strip to stop Kassam attacks. Officials said that after 16 days of battling Palestinian insurgents most of the Israeli troops and military assets would be removed from the area. Hours later, two Palestinian missiles or rockets landed in Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. Nobody was injured.]

Reliable Network was meant to provide civilians with up to 20 seconds before the landing of a Kassam missile. The system was based on radar, observation posts and acoustic sensors meant to detect and warn of an approaching short-range missile.

The system was introduced in September, but in initial operations failed to alert authorities or residents of Kassam attacks. Rafael engineers then resolved the technical glitches and returned the missile warning and alert system last week.

The Israeli military's Home Command has briefed residents on guidelines during a Kassam attack. The guidelines call for those in Sderot to seek shelter when they hear the code for a missile strike.

The guidelines call on pedestrians unable to find shelter within 20 seconds of a Kassam alert to lie on the ground with their hands protecting their heads. Motorists in Sderot were asked to immediately park their cars.

Officials said Reliable Network would not operate between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. They said that during these hours most Sderot residents would be indoors and largely protected from Palestinian missiles.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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