by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv (AFP) June 12, 2012
Israel will evacuate the entire population of Tel Aviv if it is hit by missiles, particularly if they have unconventional warheads, the commander in charge of Israel's central region told AFP.
Colonel Adam Zusman, chief of the Home Front Command in Israel's Gush Dan region, which encompasses the city of Tel Aviv and its environs, said an attack on the centre of the country would force massive evacuations.
"In case of a missile attack on the centre of Israel, especially unconventional, the population from Tel Aviv and other cities will be evacuated and relocated in other areas of the country," Zusman told AFP in an interview at the weekend.
"Massive evacuations will take place in case of unconventional attacks and if buildings are destroyed by a missile."
Zusman said Israel continued to face serious threats from Iran and its allies, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Gaza's Hamas rulers.
"We estimate that in case of war, hundreds of missiles will hit Tel Aviv and its nearby cities. As a result of these attacks, there will be hundreds of Israeli casualties.
"In the next war, nobody will be able to drink a coffee in Dizengoff," he said, referring to a popular street in downtown Tel Aviv.
"Israeli civilians will have to face the threat. Today, every civilian is threatened in Israel."
Zusman said Israel has some of the "most sophisticated" anti-aircraft system in the world, but that the Jewish state could not count on any system for total protection.
"We are getting ready for the worst-case scenario."
He acknowledged that gaps in preparedness remain, with around 30 percent of the residents in the area under his command lacking gas masks.
But in other areas, he said, precautions had been taken, including the running of regular drills and the preparation of hospitals to deal with the potential of treating casualties while under attack.
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