The city of Sderot and the Israel Defense Forces denied on Tuesday a media report claiming that residents living in the upper stories of high-rise apartment buildings in the southern city would be evacuated in times of tension or war in neighboring Gaza.
In its Tuesday night prime-time news broadcast, Channel 12 carried an exclusive report claiming that “the defense establishment and the IDF have begun to develop a plan in recent days” to protect upper-story residents from the threat of anti-tank missile fire from the Gaza Strip.
Line-of-sight missiles fired from Gaza are capable of hitting the top stories of Sderot’s tallest residential buildings, the report said.
The plan would involve the swift evacuation of several thousand residents in the city of some 25,000.
But both the IDF and the Sderot municipality denied the report on Tuesday.
Sderot slammed the report as fear-mongering at the city’s expense.
“The city of Sderot strenuously denies the report,” it said, adding that Channel 12 did not seek the municipality’s response before the broadcast.
“There are evacuation plans for all Gaza-periphery towns, including the city of Sderot, for special populations like the elderly, those with special needs, and children. At no point were there discussions, and none are currently underway, on evacuating residents from high-rise apartment buildings because of anti-tank fire. It is unfortunate that Channel 12 chooses to sabotage the beautiful development of the city by causing unnecessary fear among its residents.”
The IDF said in a statement: “Standing orders to evacuate residents in times of emergency have existed for a long time in the IDF. No new order related to this issue has been written.”
It added that the army “cooperates fully with local authorities and will continue to do so.”