Residents in the central region of Israel heard an air raid siren at mid-morning Thursday – but this time it was for a good reason.Home Front Command launched its emergency rescue and military preparedness drill in the Gush Dan area.
Security and rescue forces are participating in the exercise, both to check their ability to coordinate their services in time of crisis, and to raise the public's level of awareness.Roads are not being closed for the purposes of the drill, and the public is not required to participate.
Gush Dan includes the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and the suburbs of Bat Yam, Bnei Brak, Ganei Tikva, Givatayim, Givat Shmuel, Holon, Kiryat Ono, Or Yehud.Air raid sirens might also be heard in Be'erot Yitzchak, Beit Dagan, Gat Rimon, Kfar Ma'as, Petach Tikva, Ramat HaSharon and Rishon LeTzion.
In case of a true emergency, a second – real – siren will sound following the first one. Explosions may be heard across the area, but they will be part of the exercise.
The drill, scheduled two months in advance, will include a rocket attack simulation that will include biological and chemical warheads, and a mass casualty event depicting a disaster in which some 400 victims will be “wounded”.An increased number of emergency rescue vehicles will be on the roads, “evacuating” patients to Wolfson Hospital.
Ironically, the drill comes at the end of week in which dozens of rockets and mortar attacks were launched from Gaza by Palestinian Authority terrorists at Israel's southern region. A 56-year-old Ashkelon man was killed, 16 people were physically wounded -- including a young girl and a baby -- and 14 others were taken to hospital with trauma reactions and severe anxiety attacks.
Nevertheless, numerous miracles were witnessed despite the tragedies, with residents noting that far worse damage and destruction could have taken place.