21/05/2010 04:03

Prisons Service will practice for mass escape.

Amid growing fears that in a future war Israel will come under unprecedented missile fire, the nationwide civil defense drill that will start next week will include a new scenario – a Hizbullah attack on Israel’s national water carrier.

The weeklong drill will begin on Sunday and include the sounding of air-raid sirens nationwide next Wednesday at 11 a m. At that time, civilians are expected to search for the nearest bomb shelter or safe room.

During the drill, called Turning Point 4, the IDF Home Front Command, the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Administration, the Israel Police as well as other Israeli emergency services will test their responses to a massive bombardment of Israel by missiles fired from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Iran.

The focus of the drill will be on 38 local councils, mostly from the center of the country, which will undergo a series of simulations to test their ability to continue providing basic services for their residents at a time of war.

One of the simulations will be the bombing of the local councils’ water infrastructure and council heads, together with the Mekorot, the national water company, will be asked to devise solutions to continue providing water for residents.

During the First Gulf War in 1991, one of the Scuds that landed in Ramat Gan hit a neighborhood’s main water pipe and cut off the supply of water to the area.

“Local councils need to know how to provide their residents with basic services and supplies,” a defense official involved in the drill’s planning said on Thursday.

In addition, the Tel Aviv, Netanya and Eilat municipalities will be asked to set up mock refugee camps inside their cities as part of a simulation that assumes hundreds of thousands of residents will flee their homes in northern Israel, where most of Hizbullah’s missiles are expected to fall in a new war.

Also, for the first time, the Prisons Service will participate in the drill, simulating a chemical weapon attack on an Israeli jail and the subsequent escape of dozens of prisoners.