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May 22, 2018 3:38 pm

Israeli Security Cabinet Begins Holding Meetings in Underground Bunker

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) sits next to Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman (R) and Israeli Intelligence and Transportation Minister Israel Katz (L) at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Jan. 7, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Abir Sultan / Pool.

Israel‘s Security Cabinet, a forum of senior ministers headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has begun holding its weekly meetings in a secure underground bunker in Jerusalem, Israeli media said on Tuesday.

The facility, known as the “National Management Center,” was first used by the Security Cabinet in 2011 to rehearse a national crisis scenario. It was carved out beneath the government complex in Jerusalem and includes living quarters as well as command facilities.

Reports of the move come amid a rise in tensions with Iran.

Israel this month accused Iran of firing rockets from Syria into the Golan Heights. Israel struck back with its heaviest air strikes in Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

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Meetings of the Council, hitherto mostly at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, are already generally held out of the public eye.

“Cabinet ministers have told us that one of the main reasons for the move is Netanyahu’s wish to try even harder to prevent leaks and because of fears of spying attempts by hostile foreign parties,” Israel‘s Channel 10 said.

The group of 11 ministers has already held a small number of meetings at the facility, and three planned weekly sessions, the next of which is scheduled for Wednesday, will be held in the bunker, a media source said.

Israeli officials declined to comment on the reports.

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