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Israelis told to prepare 'rocket rooms' for war

Retired senior officers told Israelis on Saturday to prepare "rocket rooms" as protection against a rain of missiles expected to be fired at the Jewish state in any future conflict.
Speaking on radio as part of a military propaganda offensive, retired general Udi Shani said: "The next war will see a massive use of ballistic weapons against the whole of Israeli territory."

Shani was tasked recently with drawing up a report on the way the military authorities operated during Israel's 2006 summer war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

During that conflict thousands of rockets hit Israel, but were limited to the north of the country from where hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated.

The character of war has changed, said the general.

"Strikes to the rear must now be taken into account -- that is what will come and we must prepare in a totally different way for this eventuality," he said.

Another reserve officer, Colonel Yehiel Kuperstein, added: "Protection of civilians must today be assured even inside their homes.

"There is no absolute protection, but the best possible sort is that of a room able to provide shelter" inside houses, he said, evoking the norms in force in Israel for several years which envisage each apartment having a room with reinforced walls able to serve as a shelter.

"Today in Israel only one third of apartments have such a room able to provide shelter... they have neither an air filter nor ventilation system enabling anyone to stay there for a long time," Kuperstein said.

At the beginning of 2008 the military command in charge of passive defence began an information campaign to prepare Israelis for any future conflict "in the light of lessons drawn from the war in Lebanon."

The authorities have distributed a brochure in six languages with advice on what to do, particularly in the event of missile attacks, as well as launching a campaign on radio and television.

The report of a commission of inquiry into failings in the Lebanon war, which was released on Wednesday, highlighted serious errors in the protection of frontline residents.

As the Israeli military bombed and shelled much of the infrastructure of Lebanon and killed an estimated 1,200 Lebanese, the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets at north Israel during the 34-day war.

Around a million Israelis took to primitive shelters or fled to safety in the south of the country.


Israelis told to prepare 'rocket rooms' for war
 
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