A missile landing on a building in Jaffa; terrorists taking over a bus in Tel Aviv; and an explosion of the ammonia tanks in the Haifa Bay – those were the three horror scenarios simulated by security forces as part of the nationwide home front preparedness drill
"Turning Point 2" held across Israel for the fourth day Wednesday.
The most catastrophic scenario was tested in Haifa, where personnel of the Environmental Protection Ministry simulated a direct hit of a missile of the huge ammonia tank in the bay area. Such an attack could cause the poisonous gas to leak and contaminate a significantly large area.
"The immediate solution for the population in such a case is to remain indoors," said Dr. Yossi Inbar, the ministry's deputy director-general.
Environmental Protection Minister personnel in Haifa (Photo: Ido Becker)
Ministry officials also noted that there were thousands of factories and businesses across Israel that produce or make use of hazardous materials. Any incident involving such materials could not only lead to substantial damage to property and the environment, but also to dozens and hundreds of casualties.
Meanwhile in Jaffa, Home Front Command forces trained for the possibility of a conventional warhead missile landing on a three-story residential building occupied by some 50 people. The drill was held in a building designated for demolition on Jerusalem Boulevards in the city, a fact that helped give credibility to the training. Dummies simulating the casualties have been scattered under the rubble.
Two Home Front Command rescue regiments operated at the scene of the simulated attack.
"This is a completely different scenario than what we have encountered during the Second Lebanon War," said Colonel Tzviki Tesler, commander of the Gush Dan District at the Home Front Command. "Here we are facing a much larger warhead than that of the Katyushas that were fired on Israel in the war, and damage of a much larger scope.
Rescuing 'casualties' in Jaffa (Photo: Yaron Brener)
"This gives us a wonderful opportunity to challenge the forces, by using a real structure, and to improve the coordination between the different bodies involved."
The Tel Aviv Police also took part in Wednesday's drill, and simulated the infiltration of a terror cell from sea and the hijacking of a bus in the northern part of town.
During the exercise, policemen dressed up as terrorists infiltrated Tel Aviv's coast by boat and took over a bus full of passengers. The "terrorists" demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners Samir Kuntar and Marwan Barghouti and threatened to execute the passengers if their demands were not met.
After prolonged negotiations, security forces took over the bus and "killed" the terrorists. Three of the passengers were "killed" and several officers were "wounded" during the operation.
Avi Cohen, Yael Ivri-Darel and Ahiya Raved contributed to the report