April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is gearing to hold a nationwide drill, scheduled to take place in two months, in a bid to prepare the populace for the possibility of war.

The exercise, called "Turning Point 5," will begin on June 19 and end four days later.

An IDF spokesman confirmed to Xinhua that preparations for the drill are underway, but would not provide further details.

National daily Yedioth Aharonot, however, claimed Wednesday that the drill will be the largest-ever to be held in Israel, encompassing 70 percent of civilians residing in more than 80 local councils.

Government offices, in conjunction with police and military forces, will drill responding to various emergency scenarios, mainly unconventional missile strikes throughout the country, and coping with damage to strategic civil infrastructure, according to the report.

The IDF Home Front Command and the Defense Ministry's National Emergency Administration will coordinate the drill, the fifth to be held since the 2006 Lebanon war, when an estimated 4,000 Katyusha rockets were lobbed at northern Israel.

The defense establishment assesses that tens of thousands of projectiles currently stocked by Hamas and Hezbollah may shower down in a future war, effectively turning the entire country into a front.

The drill will, for the first time, require millions of Israelis to rush to neighborhood bomb shelters or cram inside home- based protected rooms when sirens will sound at all major cities during the early evening on the fourth day.

Defending against a potential cyber attack will also be drilled for the first time in June, and the exercise will simulate an attack on Israel's computer and telecom networks.


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