NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, April 7th 2008
BY MATTHEW KALMAN
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
JERUSALEM - Israel launched a week-long nationwide Civil Defense drill
Sunday as speculation mounted about a possible U.S.-led strike on
Sirens blared and rescue workers rushed to simulated chemical and
biological attack scenes across the Jewish state as authorities
mounted the biggest-ever drill in Israel's history. Officials insisted
that the exercise - code-named Turning Point 2 - is part of a
long-term plan to increase civil preparedness after the failed 2006
invasion of Lebanon.
"This is a routine drill," said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "The State
of Israel is not seeking violent confrontation." Israel's neighbors
and Palestinians blasted the drill as a prelude for more cross-border
attacks in Lebanon, Syria or the Gaza Strip.
The drill also came amid rising saber-rattling with Iran, which the
U.S. accuses of meddling in neighboring Iraq. A British newspaper
reported that Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq,
will set the stage for military action against Iran when he testifies
before Congress this week.
Two weeks ago, Petraeus accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of
carrying out rocket attacks on the Green Zone in Baghdad that left 15
A joint U.S.-Israeli strike on Iran might take aim at the Islamic
Republic's fledgling nuclear program - and also seek to deter it from
interfering in Iraq. Israeli commentators have speculated that any
attack on Iran would most likely take place after the November
election, in the dying days of the Bush presidency.