by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
Israel's army estimates that thousands of rockets could slam into the Jewish state in any future conflagration, military sources said Friday ahead of a nationwide civil defence drill.
"Total war on several fronts, destruction of essential equipment and infrastructure and heavy rocket bombardment" all form part of the scenario for the exercise, which runs from Sunday until September 21, the army said.
The drill is based on projections of the army's Home Front Command, which estimates 1,500 rockets crashing into the country each day, military sources said in a briefing to Israeli reporters, local media reported.
The projectiles could be launched simultaneously by Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah across Israel's northern border and to a far lesser extent from Hamas-ruled Gaza in the south.
Hamas is said to have been left seriously weakened after a 2014 Gaza war against Israel, but it still holds thousands of rockets, according to a military official.
Hezbollah has at least 100,000 and probably more, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Only around one in 100 rockets is likely to hit a building, military sources say, with the rest falling on open ground or being intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system.
They say 95 percent of rockets fired will likely carry a light payload and have a range of less than 40 kilometres (25 miles), but Hezbollah can hit densely-populated central Israel with dozens of rockets each day.
The Home Front Command, tasked with leading and coordinating civil defence, regularly publishes maps showing the maximum time, by location, that Israelis have to take shelter after air raid sirens sound.
In Tel Aviv, Israel's seaside commercial and leisure capital, the time to scramble to safety has been reassessed from 90 seconds at present to 60 in the next conflict.
After a 2006 war with Hezbollah, an official inquiry criticised authorities for lack of preparedness and organisation in civil defence procedures.
During that conflict, the Shiite militia rained about 4,000 rockets on Israel and sent a million civilians into shelters, many of them dilapidated and cramped.
The 34 days of fighting took the lives of more than 1,200 on the Lebanese side, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, almost all soldiers.
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