Israel nears completion of new missile alert system

09:27, January 04, 2011      

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command is about to complete the development of a system that would provide the civilians with early warnings of incoming missiles, local news service Walla reported on Monday.

The system seeks to draw on the availability of mobile phones in Israel, one of the world's biggest users of cellular technology relative to the size of the population.

It is jointly developed with the country's leading cellular companies, and is designated to provide instantaneous warning to hundreds of thousands of people via text messages if missiles were to be launched against Israel in a future war.

Army officials said the system will become operational by the end of 2011, according to the report. It will forward warnings to every third-generation mobile phone in an area about to be hit by projectiles.

In peaceful times, the system would enable the security establishment to communicate with the general population in regard to other impending disasters, like the leakage of toxic materials. The IDF reportedly intends to test the system in a nationwide drill within the coming months.

"There are assessments that thousands of missiles will strike the country in the next war," the report quotes senior IDF Home Front Command officers as saying. "Our aim is that within two years, only those who are specifically under threat will receive a warning, so that the national economy will continue to function ( in wartime)."

In a bid to substantially upgrade "focused warning" capabilities, Israel's two satellite TV providers are cooperating with the IDF on establishing dormant channels which would automatically begin broadcasting if a war breaks out. Electronic signposts along major transportation routes are also slated to be used as an additional means of notification.

Source: Xinhua
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