Israel Swaps Missile Drills For Earthquake Rehearsal [View all]
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM | Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:30pm EDT
(Reuters) - Israel dropped its annual simulation of a missile attack and held its first major earthquake drill on Sunday instead, but officials insisted the country remained as ready as ever for the possibility of a war with arch-foe Iran.
School children, civil servants and others participating in the "Turning Point 6" exercise were urged to flee outdoors if possible as radio and TV channels broadcast tremor alerts. In previous years, people were told to go to household bomb shelters in order to flee an imaginary missile attack.
"We want people to run into homes during a missile attack, and we want people to run out of homes during an earthquake," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after he and fellow ministers evacuated their weekly cabinet meeting.
The change in format comes at a time when hostile rhetoric over Tehran's disputed nuclear program has waned, with both Israel and the United States about to hold elections and Western powers pursuing ever-stronger sanctions against Iran.