IDF to Have Gaza Belt Residents in Bombshelters Longer in Next War With Gaza

IDF is shortening the warning times for incoming Gaza rockets, saying the 15 seconds given was not enough time to find safety: Gaza Belt residents will be instructed to live in, or next to, protective shelters during future conflicts with Gaza.

By Tova Dvorin


Guidelines during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza gave a 15-second window to Gaza Belt residents to run to shelters in the event of a “Code Red” alarm – a short time to find safety.

Israelis find shelter from Gaza’s deadly rockets in a ‘converted’ sewage pipe – Reuters

But even 15 seconds is insufficient, a senior Home Front Command official revealed Wednesday – and during the next war, Gaza Belt residents may be instructed to live out of their shelters for the duration of the conflict.

A new directive is being discussed by the IDF’s Gaza Division and the Command which, if passed, would update the radius for Gaza rockets, the official told Walla! News.

According to the new directive, Israelis living within 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) of the Hamas stronghold will be expected to live in or immediately next to protected areas – dramatically reversing a trend so far of warning times lengthening, not shortening, for Israelis in times of war.

The directive has already been approved by senior officers in the IDF and is based on operations research during the summer war, officials added. It is expected to be distributed to the heads of local Regional Councils in May.

“This is a controversial decision,” said a security source involved in the details of the issue. “There is a question mark over a radius of four kilometers from the border, but a range of up to seven kilometers seems extreme.”

“With this scope, the range of communities near the border is very large and will affect how residents function,” he added. “It means, if necessary, we will evacuate more communities, if the situation deteriorates and rockets return.” Some 80% of Gaza Belt residents left their home during the summer war.

An IDF Spokesperson confirmed that the board responsible for investigating the successes and failures of Protective Edge is reviewing the warning times, and that after its conclusion, “instructions will be given accordingly.”


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