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Rocket Alerts in Southern Israel 'False Alarms'

Jittery residents of southern Israel were sent racing again for bomb shelters Monday evening. Both times allegedly were false alarms.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/26/2012, 11:43 PM

Family in bomb shelter, Ashkelon
Family in bomb shelter, Ashkelon
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Jittery residents of southern Israel were sent racing again for bomb shelters Monday evening, but both times were false alarms, officials said.

The Color Red rocket alert siren was activated in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council district and in the town of Yad Binyamin.

No follow-up explosion was heard in the area, however, and police said they found no missiles after an extensive search.

"People want to know more, and whether it was a false alarm or if it was misfired and landed in Gaza,” wrote an Arutz Sheva reader in a private query sent to the editor.

The activation was believed to have been caused by a technical malfunction, officials said.

Not all of Israel's residents in the south were reassured, however; as one person on the Facebook social networking site wrote bitterly in a post: “I think 'false alarm' has become government-speak for 'we don't want to talk about it.'”

No remains of rockets or missiles were found, however, and it appeared the report of a system malfunction was genuine.

The Color Red rocket alert system had several problems during the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense counter terror offensive against Gaza terrorists. There were times in which the system did not activate to warn communities of impending attacks, and several incidents of “false alarms,” despite numerous tests of the system during military drills carried out over the past year.