Fake Hamas Message Claims Haifa Chemical Plant Hit by Gaza Rocket
Hamas, or possibly other anti-Israel hackers on Wednesday tried to sow alarm and confusion among Israelis with fake text messages, Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported.
The effort came on the second day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge aimed at ending incessant rocket fire from Gaza.
Numerous Israelis received SMS (text) message alerts alleging that chemical plant located in Haifa, Israel’s chief port, was hit by a rocket fired out of Gaza.
“Rocket from Gaza hit petrochemical plant in Haifa, huge fire, possible chemical leak, advised to evacuate Haifa,” the pseudo alert read. “Just Now: 25 Israelis killed in missile hit Haifa.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian terrorists either from Hamas or Islamic Jihad fired several long-range rockets northwards, hitting open coastal areas some 10 kilometers south of the country’s third-largest city.
Haifa is 160 kilometers from Gaza.
There were no reports of injury, although fire crews doused a small brush fire in the Binyamina area started by the fallen rocket.
However, in light of the increased rocket range and out of prudence, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and Home Front Command officials have urged residents to freshen up on procedures in case of rocket attacks, and to prepare and open public shelters.
The city has opened its new emergency operations center, opened in 2013, in the wake of Israel’s 2006 conflict with Hezbollah.
The city sustained scores of rocket strikes from Hezbollah in the 2006 conflict with the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed terror group.
“Please do not change your daily habits, maintain vigilance and do not panic,” Yahav said, in a statement on the city’s website.
“However, the experience we gained the Second Lebanon War shows that the municipality is the body for residents to turn to during emergencies, and accordingly we must prepare.”
“To meet challenges that we may face, we established a new operations room among other things, to allow security forces to operate in extreme conditions,” Yahav wrote.