Skip to comments.Israel not ready for bio-chemical terror
Posted on 10/15/2001 8:28:02 PM PDT by FresnoDA
Health minister: Israel not ready for bio-chemical terror
|By Miriam Shaviv||October, 16 2001|
JERUSALEM (October 16) - Israel is not fully prepared to combat biological or chemical terrorism, Health Minister Nissim Dahan said yesterday.
"The regulations about how to act in case of a biological terror attack have not been completed," he told the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, while emphasizing that plans to combat biological warfare by another country, probably through a missile attack, are still in place.
Dahan gave no indication as to when the anti-terror regulations would be finalized, but noted that the government "learned the lessons" of the Gulf War, when it was unclear who was responsible for dealing with victims of missile attacks. On Sunday night, he said, it was agreed that the police is responsible for dealing with suspected cases of biological terrorism until war is declared, at which point responsibility passes to the Home Front Command.
"I came out of the meeting extremely worried," said committee member MK Yehudit Naot (Shinui). "Israel needs a central authority, like the Center for Disease Control in the US, which has a professional background in dealing with chemical and biological weapons. Policemen who know how to deal with a suspected bomb are not trained to deal with suspicious chemicals." Naot said that she will raise the issue in the Knesset plenum tomorrow.
She added that Finance Minister Silvan Shalom is "not acting urgently enough" to allocate some NIS 40 million needed to replenish the country's supply of antibiotics. "The various authorities have been arguing over this money since the summer of 2000, when major supplies were stolen from the police," she noted. "I am also worried that the Postal Authority has issued no clear directives to its workers, other than telling them to be more careful."
One man died in the US recently after being infected with the anthrax poison. Two Israelis who were in the NBC building in New York last week, where a number of letters containing anthrax were discovered, were examined and found healthy.
Dahan said that on Sunday there were "a number of suspicious bags" which turned out to be false alarms.
Members of the public should avoid opening suspicious packages and call the police, who will transfer the parcel for testing at the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona, Dahan said. If a member of the public touches suspicious powder, they should wash their hands, store their clothes in a bag, record who else is in the room, and call the police.
In related news, the Knesset today issued to its workers a list of signs that a parcel should be treated as suspicious, including oil stains on the envelope, too many stamps, a smell of almonds, spelling mistakes in the address, an unfamiliar sender, or the lack of a return address.