Skip to comments.IDF Spokeswoman: Get ready for war
Posted on 03/05/2003 4:17:19 PM PST by Nachum
Signaling that Israel has reached the end of its preparation for a possibly imminent attack by Iraq, IDF Spokeswoman Brig.-Gen. Ruth Yaron publicly urged Israelis on Wednesday to prepare sealed rooms and get new gas mask kits.
"Whoever has not yet acquired the correct equipment should do so. This is the time to make those purchases," Yaron said in an interview with Israel Radio. "As of now I want to emphasize get ready, renew your gas masks, and finish buying equipment for sealing rooms."
In response, hundreds of people reportedly swamped gas mask distribution centers Wednesday, fearing an imminent attack.
"Now it is official. War will begin very soon," said Abed Abarijmi, 40, who went to the distribution center after hearing the news on the radio while he played with his children. He picked up eight masks.
"I heard the news this morning," said Bashir Hassan, 28. "Now is the time to change my family's masks... now it seems serious."
Some were confused by Wednesday's warnings. "I heard the spokeswoman on the radio," said Tamir Sheffel, 38. "I'm quite confused. One day they say there is nothing to worry about and the next, they make it sound like war will break out tomorrow."
Fearing that Yaron's statement would spark panic among the public, the Defense Ministry and the IDF scrambled to qualify it. A Defense Ministry source told The Jerusalem Post that Israel is under no immediate threat of attack.
"No instructions were given [Wednesday] morning, neither by me nor by anyone else, except to complete the preparations, meaning that those who have not yet renewed their gas mask kits should do so, and that they should go over the next few days to get the required materials," Yaron said in one of several radio interviews.
Recent IDF intelligence assessments have indicated that the likelihood that Israel will be targeted in case of an American strike on Iraq is "very low." Yet the source said Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has ordered the ministry to push into high gear Israel's preparation for an attack by March 15; OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that a US attack on Iraq could begin as early as next week.
Trying to soothe Israelis' fears, Farkash said Wednesday night that "there are no surface-to-surface missiles in western Iraq right now."
The chances of Iraqi missiles hitting Israel are very low, he said, although "we must be prepared for all scenarios even the most extreme ones, in which Iraq could succeed in deploying a rocket launcher in the West."
On Tuesday, multiple Patriot-2 missile batteries were deployed in the Tel Aviv area. Other Patriot batteries are to be deployed in the Haifa area next week. With two Arrow anti-missile missile batteries in place as well, IDF sources stress that Israel is far better prepared for an attack than it was in 1991, when 39 Scud missiles slammed into the country.
While Israel is prepared for all possible scenarios, Farkash said, it will not be restricted in its right to respond, even if it means flying over countries such as Jordan, who have announced that they will close their airspace to Israel.
AP contributed to this report.
But the libs have assured us that Saddam doesn't have any WMDs, so it will be safe in Israel this time around.
G-d Bless the US.
G-d Bless Israel.
G-d Bless the IDF.
The Fascistic swine shall not prevail!
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