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Surprise IDF drill simulates strikes from north and Gaza

‘Largest surprise’ exercise in recent years rehearses response to rocket and cyber attacks

Members of the Knesset Honor Guard, Home Front Command, Firefighters, IDF, and Israel Police, participate in an emergency drill at the Knesset, on May 21, 2015.  (Yaniv Nadav/Flash90 )
Members of the Knesset Honor Guard, Home Front Command, Firefighters, IDF, and Israel Police, participate in an emergency drill at the Knesset, on May 21, 2015. (Yaniv Nadav/Flash90 )

Thousands of Israel Defense Forces reservists were required to present themselves to their units in a surprise emergency drill starting Monday that simulated rocket attacks from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip as well as cyber attacks. The drill will end on Wednesday.

The exercise was set to simulate incidents in the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and on the Lebanese border, and throughout Israel.

The Israel Defense Force Spokesperson’s Unit reported that emergency exercises would be conducted across Israel between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

In addition to the thousands of reservists who took part in the exercise, hundreds of thousands more were contacted as part of the drill.

A senior officer said that the exercise constituted “the army’s largest surprise drill in recent years,” the Hebrew news site Walla reported.

During the emergency drill, the Home Command was set to simulate defending attack sites, the air force to practice counter-attacks, and the navy to simulate protecting vulnerable sites.

The army’s new cyber defense unit was set to simulate a response to a digital attack.

The reservists, most of whom are company and battalion commanders, were to receive an automated phone call Monday informing them of the drill, with some required to arrive at designated emergency locations.

“The exercise was planned in advance as part of the schedule of drills in 2015, and the goal of the exercise is the improvement of the readiness of the Israel Defense Forces in an emergency and the preservation of the fitness and preparedness of the forces,” the army Spokesperson’s Unit said.

The exercises were to take place in sites including the new Tel Aviv central bus station, the Tel Aviv municipality square, the Shivat Hakochavim mall in Herzliya, the Begin School in Beit Shemesh, and the Yehuda Halevi school in Jerusalem.

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