Israel's Defence prepares for future attacks

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 18, 2010

The Israeli defence establishment is beefing up its preparations for extensive missile attacks on its towns and military bases in case of war.

At a special meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, the chiefs of the military and emergency services presented the latest civil defence readiness plans.

The exact details of the threat assessments are classified but it is expected that in a war between Israel and its neighbours to the north, Syria and Hizbollah in Lebanon, hundreds, perhaps thousands of missiles would rain down on the north and the Tel Aviv area.

Hizbollah currently has stockpiled about 40,000 missiles of various ranges, while Syria has over 100,000. Israel is expected to attack the missile sites in Lebanon and Syria at the start of any conflict and is also developing a multi-layered missile defence system. A complete missile defence, if at all possible, is still at least a decade away.

Among the plans being discussed are limited evacuations of civilians to locations like Eilat.

Two weeks ago, the IDF General Staff carried out a comprehensive exercise simulating a full war scenario. In recent months, they have also carried out exercises simulating biological attacks on the Tel Aviv area. Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai explained that "the chance that our enemies will use non-conventional weapons is small, but that chance exists and we have to be prepared".

The IDF is also concerned by the increased accuracy of the Syrian and Hizbollah missiles which may enable them to target specific targets smaller than cities, such as army bases and military airfields. The air force has drawn up detailed plans on how its operations will continue while the runways and hangars are under missile attack.

Last updated: 4:40pm, March 18 2010