Israeli officers exposed to nerve gas during warfare test: report

10:26, January 06, 2011      

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A group of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers specializing in non-conventional warfare recently completed a first-of-its-kind training course at a U.S. facility, local daily Yedioth Aharonoth reported Wednesday.

The officers, members of the IDF's Home Front Command, were exposed to a chemical agent in one of the drills. Donning protective gear, they entered a room which filled with deadly nerve gas - and emerged from it unscathed a short time later.

The IDF has sent several groups of officers to undergo similar training at the facility over the past two years. It offers simulations of attacks by missiles armed with chemical warheads; officials said the training is held according to stringent safety measures, the report said.

The Israeli army regularly wargames scenarios in which missiles with warheads filled with chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents rain down on Israel. But it lacks facilities enabling training with genuine toxic agents, as well as practical experience in handling real emergencies in the wake of a CBW attack.

Military officials said the U.S. training is "worth every dollar spent."

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