JERUSALEM — Israeli leaders holed up in a new underground nuclear bunker on Wednesday as part of annual nationwide maneuvers to prepare for a possible missile war with Iran, Syria and their Lebanese and Palestinian guerrilla allies.
Officials said it was the first time that the security cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had tested the bunker, dug deep in the western Jerusalem foothills over the past decade and dubbed the “Nation’s Tunnel” by local media.
Israel has held increasingly sweeping civil defense drills since the 2006 Lebanon war, during which Hezbollah guerrillas fired thousands of short-range rockets at its northern towns. There have been similar salvoes from Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to the south, and Israeli officials say a future war could also involve non-conventional missile strikes by Syria and Iran.
“It is certainly an extreme scenario,” Homefront Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said of Wednesday’s exercise, dubbed “Turning Point 5”, which envisaged heavy shelling and thousands of dead and wounded on several Israeli fronts.
“We assume that our enemies would not dare to operate this way, given our deterrent power,” he told Army Radio. source – MSNBC