Tel Aviv has prepared dozens of underground parking lots and garages throughout the city to serve as bomb shelters for hundreds of thousands of people in the event of missile attacks on the home front.
The city has designated 60 privately owned garages and underground lots, with a total space of 850,000 square meters, for use by up to 800,000 citizens.
All the facilities meet Home Front Command standards and were certified by a private engineering company, Maariv reported Wednesday.
Garages and underground lots to be used in the event of missile attacks include those at the New Central Bus Station, Dizengoff Center Mall, Azrieli Mall, Gan HaIr and Ramat Aviv Mall. The parking lots add the 241 public shelters already available in the city.
Israeli media have been full of reports on the possibility of an imminent Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities, and likely Iranian responses — including missile attacks from Tehran, and from its allies Syria, Hezbollah in south Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
The reports have prompted a dramatic upsurge in Israelis collecting government-issued gas mask protection kits.
A TV report earlier this week included a detailed assessment of the likely Iranian-led missile response to an Israeli attack. While Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in 2006 saw 4,500 rockets and missiles fired into Israel, an Israeli attack on Iran would prompt the firing of 50,000 missiles into Israel, the Channel 10 report said, citing what it said were “assessments in Jerusalem.” The death toll would be estimated 500 Israelis, it said, citing a figure mentioned in the past by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Hezbollah claims to have rockets that could hit any target in Israel. Hamas has gradually extended the range of its rocket fire, from initially reaching only areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip to more recently encroaching on the southern parts of Israel’s central Dan region, which includes Tel Aviv and much of the Israeli population.