The defense establishment is readying itself to deal with increasing range of Palestinian rocket capabilities by holding a missile defense exercise in the center of Israel on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s drill, coincidentally timed to follow this weekend’s violent escalation between Israel and Gaza, takes into consideration that terror organizations in Gaza now possess Fajr-5 rockets that can travel a distance of up to 70 kilometers. Those missiles are capable of hitting the city of Rishon Lezion, about 12 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.
A source in the IDF Home Front Command’s Southern District told Army Radio on Sunday that the drill was not a response to the recent wave of violence: “We are not preparing for an attack, although it is within [the Palestinians’] ability [to attack long-range].”
The exercise will be led by Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, and participants include the Home Front Command, police, fire and rescue services, and relevant government ministries.
Palestinians fired more than 120 rockets into Israel on Saturday, some striking major cities in southern Israel and seriously wounding an Israeli civilian. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted more than 28 projectiles. Israeli retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza have killed 17 people in the deadliest Gaza violence in over a year.