Exercise for 2,000 rockets a day and internal conflicts: the IDF prepares for war

Israel’s Home Front Command and National Emergency Authority (RAHEL) will hold a week-long exercise from Sunday simulating a full-scale war in which civilians are evacuated from northern border communities and agencies security forces will face massive rocket barrages sent by Hezbollah.

The exercise will draw lessons from past events in the North, as well as from the May fighting between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip – Operation Guardian of the Walls – and the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

After the fighting in May, Home Front Command “went through a very important learning process with a lot of research, and this exercise will test what we have learned,” said the Home Front Command chief of staff. , the brigadier-general. Bar Itzik.

Israel Police and Magen David Adom will also participate in the exercise, which ends on Thursday, and will see all security organs and various government agencies participate.

“This exercise is also a great opportunity for all government departments to understand the implications, starting with the disruptions in the energy sector – we are talking about 24-hour blackouts across the country, 72 hours in localized communities – and other aspects in terms of continued operation, ”said Bar.

According to RAHEL chief Yoram Laredo, the exercise is his first time working with Home Front Command, and it will hone the two’s ability to work hand-in-hand.

The exercise will focus on a new warning system for residents of northern Israel, as well as the rate of fire and Hezbollah’s ability to fire precision missiles and massive barrages at specific areas – in particular communities close to the border fence.

According to Bar, some of the issues that concern him are “the issue of precision guided munitions and the effect 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 really massive rocket barrages at specific geographic areas – I will use the phrase “demolish the front line” – directed fire at communities near the border. frontier. “

On Wednesday, the alert sirens with a new alert time and the unit’s emergency app will also be tested.

LOCALITIES IN WHICH sirens changed from “immediate” to “15 seconds” are the communities of Ga’aton, Yehiam and Evron in the Mateh Asher Regional Council; the Golan communities of Geshur, Neot Golan, Yoav-Bnei Yehuda, Mevo Hama and the IDF Kela base; in the Jordan Valley, the communities of Ma’agan, Golan Heights, Maasade, Kinneret College and Tel Katzir went from 15 seconds to 30 seconds.

Due to the large number of projectiles that are expected to be fired at border communities and the continuing lack of adequate air raid shelters, the exercise will also focus on the joint evacuation of residents of communities within five km. from the Lebanese border and their absorption in other places in Israel.

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds a warning of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon on May 19, 2021 (EDI ISRAEL / FLASH90)

Continued stay inside bomb shelters due to long duration of rocket fire will be carried out by Home Front Command’s Civil Aid Logistics Battalion, whose function is to support civilians staying during periods of time. extended periods inside protected areas with resources and other supplies.

Millions of Israelis lack basic means of protection near their homes, according to a 2020 State Comptroller report, and plans for evacuating the population in the event of war have failed. not yet completed.

The report says some public and private shelters shared in communities along the border are expected to be overcrowded in times of emergency “which may not allow extended stays.”

According to Bar, rockets and cyber attacks will be penetrated because they can “create serious disruption”.

The exercise will also work on the ability of hospitals to handle large numbers of injured soldiers requiring urgent care, as well as moving patients to hospitals in the center of the country to provide optimal care.

A scenario simulating a missile strike on an industrial plant containing hazardous materials will also be drilled at the Milotel plant in the Leiman industrial zone in Nahariya. In the exercise, a container containing the hazardous material is struck and forces must contain the leak and provide care to the injured. Thus, the troops will enter the factory wearing protective suits to deal with the escape and ambulances will evacuate the wounded from the scene.

    Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a televised speech, in this screenshot from a television footage from Al-Manar, Lebanon, October 18, 2021. (AL-MANAR TV / HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a televised speech, in this screenshot from a television footage from Al-Manar, Lebanon, October 18, 2021. (AL-MANAR TV / HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

HEZBOLLAH SECRETARY-GENERAL Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to hit Haifa’s ammonia factories and other similar factories in the past, and a 2020 State Comptroller report revealed gaps in infrastructure protection and vital installations by the defense organizations responsible for their protection.

But according to Bar, factories in northern Israel that contain hazardous materials “are more protected than ever and every year they get better.”

In addition to missile strikes on toxic facilities, the exercise will also feature a simulation of the enemy using sedatives on Israel.

“Some aspects that we are going to simulate in the exercise: the use by the enemy of disorienting and sedative substances. We will verify this during the exercise, in particular the ability to identify them, with an emphasis on the transmission of clear, targeted and vital instructions to the civilian population, ”said Laredo.

The exercise will also see the security services, including the police, dealing with internal conflicts inside Israel, such as what happened during the 11-day war in May when riots broke out in mixed Judeo-Arab towns.

“The first day of the exercise will be devoted to the Israeli police, to simulate nationalist riots on many fronts. It will be a day in which the Israeli police can clarify what challenges they face in order to better prepare, ”Laredo said.

Formed in 1992 after the first Gulf War, Home Front Command is in charge of civil defense and is responsible for preparing the country in the event of conflict or disaster, whether natural or man-made.

In July, Laredo told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the organization “is currently being restructured, both in terms of the focus of its mission and roles, and in terms of creation of an appropriate organizational structure “.

According to the head of RAHEL, following the Mizrahi Committee of 2018, the Home Front Command was defined as the main operational body responsible for the local authority level and the government district level, while RAHEL was in charge of the strategic level. and leading government ministries in overall emergency preparedness.

The recommendations of the Mizrahi Committee will be considered as part of the exercise.

Home Front Command has been criticized for its response in the 2006 war with Hezbollah, in which more than 160 Israelis were killed. Since then, it has strengthened its units and its liaison units are active in hundreds of municipalities across the country.

The command is responsible for notifying the public of any rockets fired by enemies of Israel and alerting citizens of incoming rocket attacks using sirens and push notifications from their app.

If war breaks out with Hezbollah, tens of thousands of rockets would have to be fired from Lebanon, of which around 2,000 were fired at Israel every day.

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