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      False Alarms Send Israel on War Alert

      False alarms sounded sirens in southern and northern Israel around noon, scaring children and causing soldiers to pack gear.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 4/2/2012, 1:47 PM

      Children run for shelter in Sderot
      Children run for shelter in Sderot
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      False alarms sounded sirens in southern and northern Israel around noon Monday, causing children to run for shelters and soldiers to pack gear. The IDF spokesman immediately announced that malfunctions, and not incoming rockets and missiles, were the source for the sirens to wail.

      Until the explanation was heard nationwide, adults and children panicked as sirens sounded for up to three minutes, far longer than the 20-second early warning siren for incoming rockets.

      In the north, there were fears that a Third Lebanon War was underway. In the south, where residents are used to Color Red warnings of incoming rockets, children began to scatter to shelters.

      Police were swamped with frantic calls. At least one man was seen loading up his car with army gear for an expected call-up.

      The Air Force apparently responded immediately to the sirens, causing one woman to tell Arutz Sheva Radio’s Tamar Yonah, “We have the biggest display of IAF overhead I've ever heard. There is a rumbling to the south – can't remember hearing that before; maybe just planes flying in another direction. No explosions heard.”

      The woman, named Laura, continued, “This may have gone on over us to Ashdod or heaven forbid, South Tel Aviv. The kids are out for Pesach vacation – poor little kids; none of us need this. But I'm sharing this now, to try to keep the scary feelings from backing up.... Please pray for us in Ashkelon..."

      “There may be a call-up. The man across the street is loading his car with army gear and leaving.”