Preparing Israel for the Next Missile Attack

[Reuters] Dan Williams - The rockets of the December-January war against Palestinian Hamas, like those that rained down during the 2006 conflict with Lebanon's Hizbullah, were seen by many Israelis as a preface to a wider showdown involving Iran and its ally Syria. The depth of Israel's vulnerability to missile attack has sent Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, an ex-general responsible for civil defense, on weekly missions to assess the readiness of frontier communities and urban centers. "It's important to show your enemy that they can't surprise you," he said. Since 1992, Israel has required all new homes to include a reinforced room that can be sealed off for blast-protection. These "safe rooms" helped Israel withstand thousands of Hamas and Hizbullah battlefield rockets. Vilnai also wants highway tunnels and subway stations to double as shelters. Gas masks distributed to Israelis for the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq war are to be reissued next year.

2009-10-23 06:00:00

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