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January 19, 2015 1:05 pm

Israel’s Northern Residents Alert But Calm After Reported IDF Hit on Hezbollah, Iranian Officials

avatar by Dave Bender

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Israeli military outpost and heavily patrolled border fence near the now-shuttered Queneitra crossing point with Syria in the Golan Heights. Photo: Dave Bender

Israeli military outpost and heavily patrolled border fence near the now-shuttered Queneitra crossing point with Syria in the Golan Heights. Photo: Dave Bender

Sunday’s reported IDF airstrike near Quneitra in the central Golan Heights which killed some 12 Hezbollah and senior Iranian officials has put many residents of northern Israel on alert, Ch. 2 News reported Monday.

“The routine continues, but we sense tension in the air. We received many calls from residents,” Giora Saltz, who heads the Galilee Regional Council said. “However, we have experience with incidents like this and our emergency staff is ready for any scenario.”

While Hezbollah has threatened to respond, and regional civilian leaders received IDF updates, Israel’s Home Front Command has not published emergency directives to some 250,000 citizens living in a swath from coastal Nahariya near the Lebanon border, eastward to the Galilee, and central and southern Golan.

“Hezbollah’s response could be in the Golan just as much as it could be in the direction of other areas throughout the country and even beyond Israel’s borders,” according to Eli Malka, head of the Golan Regional Council.

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“Over the last three years, we have prepared together with the Army and the residents,” Malka said, and added that, “We know how to deal with challenges that arise due to the changes along the border with Syria.”

Further to the west, facing Lebanon, “There is no doubt that tension is felt,” said Gabi Neeman, who heads the Shlomi Local Council.

“After yesterday’s events, we spoke with representatives of the Northern Command and they refreshed us regarding emergency procedures. We will brief school principals and educational departments on security procedures about going to the shelters if needed. However, I advise all residents of the area to stay calm and not panic.”

At Moshav Margaliot in the northernmost Galilee Panhandle, whose security fences are only a few hundred meters from Lebanon, resident Eitan Davidi assessed that, “We are more alert since yesterday, but everything is normal and nothing has changed. We are already trained and used to this. There is no panic and we are continuing with our lives.”

At coastal Kibbutz Gesher Haziv, “We are not acting like an ostrich and burying our head in the sand,” according to Miriam, a resident. She added however, that, “on the other hand, with the rockets that Hezbollah has, it is clear that they can reach the center of the country so we are all really in the same boat.”

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