Drill for 2,000 rockets a day and internal strife: IDF preps for war
Israel’s Home Front Command and National Emergency Authority (RAHEL) will hold a week-long drill starting on Sunday simulating a large-scale war in which civilians are evacuated from northern border communities and security agencies will deal with massive rocket barrages sent by Hezbollah.
The drill will take lessons that have been learned from past events in the North, as well as those from the May fighting between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip – Operation Guardian of the Walls – and from the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Following the May fighting, the Home Front Command “carried out a very significant learning process with a lot of research, and this exercise is going to test what we’ve learned,” said Home Front Command Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Itzik Bar.
Israel Police and Magen David Adom will also participate in the drill, which ends Thursday, and will see all security and various governmental bodies take part.
“This exercise is also a great opportunity for all government ministries to understand the implications, starting with disruptions in the energy sector – we are talking about 24-hour power outages across the country, 72 hours in localized communities – and other such aspects in terms of continual functioning,” Bar said.
According to RAHEL head Yoram Laredo, the drill is the first time that it is working together with the Home Front Command, and it will sharpen the abilities of the two to work hand-in-hand.
The drill will focus on a new alert system for residents of northern Israel, as well as the rate of fire and the ability of Hezbollah to fire precision missiles and massive barrages toward specific areas – especially communities near the border fence.
According to Bar, some of the issues that concern him are “the issue of precision-guided munitions and the effect that they will have on our ability to function and on things in the world of incoming fire alerts. The second is the rate of fire and Hezbollah’s ability to conduct truly massive rocket barrages at specific geographic areas – I’ll use the phrase ‘demolishing the front line’ – directed fire at the communities near the border.”
The Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Management Authority launched a massive, first of its kind, week-long exercise on Sunday, simulating a full-scale war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group amid a period of domestic turmoil, officials said.
The exercise is meant to see how well Israeli emergency response organizations — namely the military, police, fire department and emergency medical services — learned the lessons from this past May, which saw large amounts of rocket fire toward Israel from Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip. The 11-day conflict, known as Operation Guardian of the Walls, also saw large riots take place in mixed Arab-Jewish cities and towns throughout the country.
“We will test what we learned and experienced at levels I didn’t anticipate in terms of the domestic front,” said Brig. Gen. Itzik Bar, chief of staff of the IDF Home Front Command, speaking to reporters ahead of the exercise.
The exercise, which kicked off on Sunday and was scheduled to last through Thursday, will similarly simulate a major military conflict during a time of internal division, with large riots taking place in mixed Arab-Jewish cities, according to Bar.
Unlike in May, when Israel fought Hamas, the drill will simulate a conflict in Lebanon and Syria with the far more powerful Hezbollah, a terrorist army with well over 100,000 rockets and missiles of different ranges, as well as a smaller but still significant quantity of precision-guided missiles, which have emerged as a potentially major issue for Israel. Some military officials have assessed it to be the second most serious threat facing the country, after only an Iranian nuclear weapon.
The exercise will imagine the results of massive rocket and missile barrages at Israel, based on actual Military Intelligence predictions, including chemical weapons attacks, direct hits on toxic chemical storage facilities within Israel, overwhelmed hospitals, and nationwide power outages.
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