Israel readies largest exercise ever to prepare for Iran-Syria missile war
TEL AVIV — Israel plans to conduct its largest exercise ever to
set contingencies for massive missile attacks by Iran and Syria.
The government has been preparing for a five-day exercise in April that
would simulate conventional and nonconventional missile strikes from Iran,
Lebanon and Syria. Officials said the exercise would test emergency response
as well as evacuation of cities struck by enemy missiles.
The exercise, scheduled to begin on April 6, has been organized by
National Emergency Authority, Middle East Newsline reported. The authority was established in 2007 as part
of recommendations in the aftermath of the Hizbullah war a year earlier, in
which 4,500 rockets landed in Israel.
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Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i has been responsible for the
exercise, meant to integrate efforts by the military, police and emergency
services. The exercise also envisioned missile and rocket attacks on
southern Israeli cities by the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.
The exercise would include a simulation conducted by the government.
Officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would convene the Cabinet to order
a response to the enemy strike.
Officials said the exercise could take place annually amid an assessment
that Iran would assemble a nuclear bomb as early as 2009. In 2007, the
military halted an effort to replace gas masks distributed in the late