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      Home Front Command: Siren Malfunctions Being Investigated

      Home Front Command's Yair Golan has ordered an investigation following Wednesday's malfunction of air raid sirens in northern Israel.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/2/2011, 11:59 PM / Last Update: 3/3/2011, 2:16 AM

      The IDF Home Front Command's senior commander, Major General Yair Golan, has ordered an investigation into the malfunction of its civil defense sirens in northern Israel on Wednesday - the fourth time in a month a malfunction has occurred. Home Front Command chief of staff Brigadier General Zvi Tessler said, "It's not serious, but it shouldn't have happened under any circumstances."

      Tessler said Wednesday: "I apologize to all citizens who were agitated and discomfited by the alarm. It's too early to talk about lessons learned, and we have not isolated the problem, but surely the most important thing is that this should not happen again."

      Brigadier General Tessler believes Israeli citizens will continue to follow Home Front Command instructions despite the malfunction. The Home Front Command, he noted, has made significant improvements in early warning systems and detection means since the Second Lebanon War.

      Citing the system's reliability, Tessler said, "Home Front Command continues to make improvements in early warning systems, is adding sirens all over the country and conducts siren tests every week to ensure integrity of systems over time."

      The siren malfunction was especially alarming because it produced the distinctive rising and falling wail that the sirens are supposed to emit only in the event of an actual attack on Israel. In civil defense system tests - which the public is informed of beforehand - the sirens emit a steady wail, similar to those used to denote a moment of silence on Holocaust Rememberence day and Israel's Independence day - and to herald the approaching Shabbat in some religious neighborhoods.