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August 30, 2013 3:48 pm

With Tensions High, Human Error Sets Off False Air Raid Alarm in Eilat

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Iron Dome newly installed near Eilat. Photo. Screenshot

Iron Dome newly installed near Eilat. Photo. Screenshot

In a week that saw Israelis waiting in long lines for gas masks in preparation for a potential chemical weapons attack by Syria, human error on Friday morning in the southern city of Eilat set residents on edge, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

At around 11AM, air raid sirens rung across Eilat, but municipal officials were quick to announce that there had been a false alarm, with no rockets had been launched against Israel’s southernmost city.

An IDF spokesperson told Israel’s Channel 2 that there had been no technical problem with the alarm, but rather human error was to blame.

The IDF this week installed an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery air defense system in Eilat, as well as in Ashkelon and to the north, in Haifa, as concerns over a Syrian reprisal mounted.

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U.S. President Barack Obama has threatened to respond with force to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria, and its ally Iran, have responded that any military action against Damascus would be matched with attacks against Israel, although Israeli defense leaders doubt Syria, encumbered by a two-year long civil war, would want to drag Israel, with its superior armed forces, into a military confrontation.

Israeli President Shimon Peres called the Syrian saber-rattling “false propaganda” and an “attempt to create panic” that Israelis were “too experienced” to fall for, as the country made preparations for a possible confrontation.

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