As IDF masses its forces near Lebanese border, senior Iranian military official warned Israel that any attack would unleash a firestorm of missiles on its cities.
Israeli forces, including heavy artillery, have been massing along the Lebanese border, yet the sole purpose of the buildup is participation in a military drill, Israeli officials said on Sunday after Iran and its Lebanon proxy Hezbollah reportedly showed unease over the maneuvers.
However the Israeli military said it’s part of a routine annual drill.
The five-day home front defense exercise is intended to prepare Israel’s population and emergency services to respond to massive missile attacks.
Named “Turning Point 15,” the exercise involves testing nationwide siren systems and the cellular network, distributing emergency kits, improving coordination and practicing evacuation and shelter procedures.
As part of the exercise Israelis are being asked to enter their “pre-selected protected spaces” when they hear sirens sound on Tuesday.
The sirens will sound twice, once in the morning, once in the evening, to give citizens two opportunities to participate in the drill, the military said.
Among the scenarios being prepared for are sustained rocket attacks on the electrical grid as well and a hacker attack that would shut down digitally operated facilities, local media reported.
Israel has opposed the efforts of world powers to strike a deal with Iran curbing its nuclear programme in return for an easing of economic sanctions, saying that Tehran cannot be trusted.
Iran has long asserted that its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes, and that international concern about it seeking a nuclear bomb is misplaced.
Iran warns Israel of Hezbollah rockets if attacked
A senior Iranian military official warned last week that any Israeli attack would unleash a firestorm of missiles on its cities fired by the Islamic republic’s Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.
The Shiite militia has more than 80,000 rockets ready to fire at Tel Aviv and Haifa, said General Yahya Rahim Safavi, military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Iran, with the help of Hezbollah and its friends, is capable of destroying Tel Aviv and Haifa in case of military aggression on the part of the Zionists,” he said, quoted on state television.
“I don’t think the Zionists would be so unintelligent as to create a military problem with Iran,” the general said. “They know the strength of Iran and Hezbollah.”
Last week, a senior Israeli military intelligence official warned of a heightened threat of conflict over the next two years as a result of “escalation” in the region.
In a briefing to foreign journalists at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv, the official referred specifically to Hezbollah, with whom Israel fought a month-long war in 2006, and to Iran’s arming of the group.
“The Iranian threat is a tangible threat to Israel,” said the official, whose country has not ruled out the use of military force to block any attempt by Tehran to produce a nuclear bomb.
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