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