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Military rolls out ‘terrorist infiltration’ phone alert for West Bank settlements

IDF’s Home Front Command app will now send users notifications of possible attacks, similar to existing rocket alarms

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: View of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, on October 24, 2019. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)
Illustrative: View of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, on October 24, 2019. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces announced Saturday it was deploying a new alert system in West Bank settlements for incidents of possible armed infiltrations.

In the event of an identified infiltration into a settlement, a short siren will sound along with a loudspeaker announcement blaring “terrorist infiltration” several times.

At the same time, notifications will be sent on the military’s Home Front Command mobile application, where alerts for incoming threats from rockets, drones, and more recently, earthquakes, are sent.

Up until now, alerts for suspected infiltrations changed according to the community. In some, the military would activate a siren, while others would send text messages to their residents.

The military is slated to test the system in several settlements on Sunday evening.

Sirens will sound and alerts will be sent on the app at 6:05 p.m in Psagot and Ofarim; at 6:15 p.m in Masua and Beit HaArava; at 6:25 p.m in Nokdim; at 6:35 p.m in Sansana and Hebron; and at 6:45 p.m in Revava.

In the event of an actual infiltration into a settlement during the drill, the siren will sound twice and a second alert will be sent via the Home Front Command app.

On Wednesday, the new system was apparently used for the first time, but it later turned out to be a false alarm. The alert was activated shortly after 2:30 p.m. after a Palestinian attempted a carjacking outside the settlement of Ofarim. A military spokesperson said the incident was not terrorism.

Over the years, there have been numerous deadly attacks against Israelis by Palestinians who have managed to sneak into Israeli settlements.

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