Katyusha missile
Katyusha missile Israel news photo: Flash 90

The entire population of Tel Aviv would be evacuated if unconventional missiles were to strike the city, a Home Front officer told the AFP news agency in an interview.

Colonel Adam Zusman, chief of the Home Front Command in metropolitan Tel Aviv, told the interviewer, "In case of a missile attack on the center of Israel, especially unconventional, the population from Tel Aviv and other cities will be evacuated and relocated in other areas of the country.

"Massive evacuations will take place in case of unconventional attacks and if buildings are destroyed by a missile."

The last time Tel Aviv was hit by missiles was in 1991, when Saddam Hussein hit the city with Scud missiles. Miraculously, no one was killed, although one elderly man died from a heart attack immediately after a strike. In an ironic twist, hundreds of families moved to outlying areas often viewed as more dangerous, including Judea and Samaria, to escape the missile threat.

Missiles struck north of Tel Aviv in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

If Israel is attacked again in a war, Zusman estimated that “hundreds of missiles will hit Tel Aviv and its nearby cities. As a result of these attacks, there will be hundreds of Israeli casualties. In the next war, nobody will be able to drink a coffee in Dizengoff," referring to the downtown area named after the first mayor of the city.

Despite his dire forecast in the case of a missile attack, he added that Israel’s defenses include some of the "most sophisticated" anti-aircraft system in the world, although there is no total protection.

Hizbullah is estimated to possess more than 60,000 missiles, three times the number it had stockpiled before the Second Lebanon War. In addition, Hamas is known to have smuggled from Iranian and Syrian sources missiles that can strike Tel Aviv.