A warning system against surface-to-surface rockets will be set up in northern communities to alert residents of Katyusha and other rockets fired from Lebanon, Ynet has learned.
A senior Israel Defense Forces officer said the system is similar to the Red Dawn unit used in southern communities to alert residents of Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
The system identifies rockets fired from enemy territory and sets off an alarm, giving residence enough time to seek refuge or go down on the ground.
“The protection of residents is very important and we are working on that all the time,” the officer said. “A system of this kind will be activated after a rocket is fired at Israel and will relay a warning to residents so they can enter sheltered areas.”
The Red Dawn system set up Sderot and other communities in the Negev also relates to the IDF information about the launch and the landing sites.
“We are speaking of a system that will cost millions of shekels. The budget has been allocated, at least partially, and work is in the process,” the officer added.
Security arrangements to deal with rocket fire on northern communities are limited to shelters opened automatically by security officers who urge residents to seek refuge upon the landing of the first rocket.
On December 27, 2005, a barrage of Katyushas fell in Kiryat Shmona and Shlomi and in IDF bases in the north.
Two houses were directly hit and four residents were treated for shock, prompting Kiryat Shmona Mayor Sami Maloul to invite Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to pay a visit to the community and act to protect residents.
The new mayor, Haim Barbibai welcomed the new move: “I hope we will not need the alert system but my concern for the residents commits me to having these devices fixed. It is an important decision that is expected to prove useful in emergencies and therefore I thank the army and the government.”
Shlomi’s Mayor, Gabi Naaman, said in response: “This alarm system enhances the shelters with automatic doors currently in place. It will also make residents feel safer.”
Hizbullah set to escalate after Israeli elections
Meanwhile, the IDF estimates Hizbullah is planning to kidnap soldiers by infiltrating Israel’s northwestern border. “It seems they are preparing for such attacks. Their troops are being readied,” a senior officer said.
The Hizbullah launched a failed attempt to kidnap soldiers in the Rajar village in November. “After the attempted kidnap in Rajar, they started to build all kinds of outposts along the western section of the border. There are outposts of different kinds, some of which are almost at the border. And it is clear that outposts of this kind are in anticipation of a large scale attack,” the officer added.
The IDF remains vigilant and has no plans to carry out operations against Hizbullah.
“Our assessment is that Hizbullah is not interested in escalation, at least until the elections in Israel at the end of the month,” an officer of the Northern Command said. “But Iran and Syria’s increasing cooperation to assist Hamas and Hizbullah, raises the potential for escalation and we are embracing for this scenario appropriately.”