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IDF scenario pictures mass casualties in third Lebanon war

Assessment visualizes war with Hezbollah that will involve 1,200 rockets a day and hundreds of Israeli deaths; government will have to decide whether to protect strategic sites or population centers with Iron Dome; 1 in 4 Israelis do not have shelters in their residences.

For the first time in Israel since 2007, the Home Front Command and the Planning Directorate have drafted a new “reference scenario”, visualizing a potential Third Lebanon War that includes an average of 1,200 rockets per day launched from Lebanon and hundreds of Israeli dying over the course of the battle.

The scenario – an up-to-date forecast upon which the state bases its investment in troops and battle preparedness, and not necessarily a prognosis of what will actually occur – was distributed to mayors and mostly involves local authorities.

It includes predictions of casualty numbers, damage to buildings, and the amount of rockets launched, based on the assesment of a senior Home Front Command official.

584322901001599640360noIron Dome battery. The IDF will soon possess 10 of these (Photo: Avihu Shapira)

The official used the scenario supplied to the Kiryat Biyalik Municipality as an example: “Dozens of rocket hits in the city on the worst day of the war, out of several hundred during the whole war. Tens of thousands of buildings will be damaged lightly or very lightly, hundreds moderately, a few dozen heavily, and very heavily in isolated cases. Hundreds will be wounded while only a small number will die, a few dozen will be moderately to critically wounded, and hundreds will be lightly wounded or victims of anxiety.”

The senior Home Front Command officer said local authorities were asked to provide operational solutions for their residents, with an emphasis on protecting continuity of municipal activities during wartime – ensuring that garbage is collected, stores remain open, cash is in the cash machine, and citizens’ required services are received.

The official reported a disturbing figure showing that there has been no significant change in recent years in the number of citizens living without a residential shelter. The rate of citizens without a shelter actually rose from 24 percent to 27 percent in 2014. “If the citizen receives advance warning from us and has shelter, there’s a 90 percent chance he will stay alive,” said the source.

While the Iron Dome system made hundreds of interceptions during Operation Edge and prevented rockets from landing in city centers, the situation in the north will likely be different. The political echelon is the body expected to decide, based on a situation assessment, where to distribute 10 Iron Dome batteries and whether it would be preferable to deploy them to protect strategic sites like power stations, water pumps, and air bases, or to protect population centers.

The IDF estimates that in contrast to Hamas, Hezbollah possesses hundreds of precise missiles with GPS capability, in addition to an advanced arsenal of sophisticated suicide drones that could hit virtually any target in northern or central Israel. “Protection of strategic sites has been a drop in the ocean in the last few years,” said the official. “The situation is not good.”

Regarding the potential evacuation of towns near the borders in the north and south, where Hamas and Hezbollah are expected to concentrate their fire, the official said that “we have the capability to absorb tens of thousands of citizens in military installations, and meanwhile we are formulating a national evacuation plan. Each municipality that is asked to help with the problem will be required to absorb evacuees at a rate of four percent of its size.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Eyal Eizenberg, the head of the Home Front Command, left office after a four-year term that included two operations in Gaza, among many other crises.

Eizenberg, who will be replaced by Brig. Gen. Yoel Strick, opposed the existence of the Home Front Defense Ministry (which was disbanded last year) during his tenure, recommending instead that the Home Front Command remain the responsibility of the IDF and Ministry of Defense. “The Home Front has become the central front and the enemy will pin all its hopes on damaging it,” said Eizenberg, who is leaving the IDF after 34 years of service.


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