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Israel to hold 'routine' nationwide emergency drill

  • Story Highlights
  • Israel plans to hold nationwide emergency drill this week
  • Drill will deal with emergency response to variety of attacks
  • Israeli PM: Drill has nothing to do with "exaggerated" reports of tension with Syria
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(CNN) -- Israel's plan to test its nationwide emergency response this week "is only a drill" and has nothing to do with "exaggerated" reports of heightened tensions with Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday.

"I would like to make it unequivocally clear that this is a routine drill," Olmert said before the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting.

"The State of Israel is not intent on any violent confrontation in the north. On the contrary, we have said more than once that we have an interest in holding peace negotiations with Syria," he said. "They know exactly what our expectations are. I can also say that we know what their expectations are; if these conditions will bear fruit, then this is what we are intent on and nothing else."

The drill will include a minute and a half-long siren that will sound across Israel at 10 a.m. Tuesday (3 a.m. ET) except in the southern town of Sderot, a frequent target of rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza.

At the same time, Israeli television will show a message from the Israeli military as well as instructional videos on how to seek shelter during an alert. During that time, Israeli schools and government offices will practice entering protected spaces.

On Tuesday, the country will begin practicing its response to a variety of attacks, including rocket strikes and incidents involving chemical and biological agents.

Haemek Hospital in Afula will be one of the institutions taking part in the drills, which will end on Thursday. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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