Israel unveils sophisticated new bomb shelters during rising tension with Iran

Posted on March 1, 2012

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EL AVIV, Israel: Underneath the plaza outside Israel’s Habima national theater, Israel has put the finishing touches on a new gathering place that it hopes will never host a crowd: The country’s most advanced public underground bomb shelter.

The shelter, four stories underground and with space for 1,600 people, is usually a parking lot. It is also part of Tel Aviv’s elaborate civil defense infrastructure. City officials have been beefing up shelters and emergency services in recent months at a time of rising tensions with Iran and militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

Recent talk of conflict with Iran has given the safety measures extra relevance.

Officials say the timing is coincidental. Israel is under constant threat from hostile groups on its northern and southern frontiers. Security forces run frequent safety drills, cities are equipped with public air-raid shelters, and new apartments must have bombproof rooms.

Israeli leaders have hinted they may mount a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, even as American military leaders urge Israel to wait for tough economic sanctions to take effect.

Should Israel attack, Iran has promised a punishing counterstrike. Iran has missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel. It also supports anti-Israel militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, which have fired thousands of rockets into Israel in the past. Israel’s military intelligence chief recently estimated that the country’s enemies have 200,000 rockets and missiles aimed at the Jewish state.

Times of India

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