The IDF is planning a drill that will simulate a “nightmare” scenario of blanket missile attacks emanating from both the north and south of Israel on a scale so large that the Iron Dome missile defense system would not be able to combat it.
According to a report in Israel National News quoting sources in the Defense establishment who wish to remain anonymous, Israel could suffer over 4,000 casualties in the first few days of such an attack. It is currently estimated that Hezbollah possesses over 100,000 missiles of various sizes that are currently stockpiled in Lebanon and intended for use against Israel in a future conflict.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning during a special briefing held for journalists last week. “Iran is seeking to cover Israel with intense fire. In Lebanon, the Iranians are inserting the most advanced weapons in the world, and strengthening Hezbollah, so that it can hit any spot in Israel.” Netanyahu was also quoted in Makor Rishon saying, “They are trying to build a second front in the Golan, and of course, in Gaza.”
Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak also spoke out regarding Hezbollah’s ability to attack Israel and inflict heavy casualties should Israel be unprepared in a future conflict.
“Our rival [Hezbollah] is serious, and we have no room for smugness on any front. We must not be smug and take our superiority as something that is self-evident and supposedly God-given. Superiority is the result of serious work. We have not really dealt with 100,000 rockets, and we have not started to deal with the matter of their accuracy. When the rockets are accurate, it is not more of the same thing. It is something completely different.”
Barak continued by encouraging the government to increase its level of preparedness. “The country has no choice but to reach conclusions. One cannot deal with this challenge by deploying [missile defense systems] in all of the places from which missiles can be fired. These things are very expensive: Iron Dome and Magic Wand, Arrow and Super-Arrow are expensive projects.
“One cannot exaggerate the importance of safeguarding security,” he went on, “and one cannot exaggerate the earth-shaking shock that can take place when it turns out that we did not prepare and we did not understand the urgency and practicality of challenges of this sort, and the need to translate clear thought to conclusions, and we will find ourselves [in a situation where] citizens suddenly discover that one cannot walk slowly and lackadaisically to the bomb shelters, knowing that nothing can happen, as we did during Operation Protective Edge. These things must be done now; we must not wait.”
The IAF recently concluded a drill which included a battle plan for the Air Force and IDF to evacuate between 1-1.5 million Lebanese civilians should a war with Hezbollah ensue. While the IDF believes that it is unlikely that Hezbollah will attack Israel at this point, since they are entangled in supporting Bashar Assad in Syria, the Air Force drill, as well as the nightmare scenario, are being held in case such an attack still occurs. The plan for Israel to evacuate the Lebanese population is to prevent large amounts of civilian casualties on the Lebanese side of the conflict. The evacuation is supposed to take only 24 hours, following which Israel would conduct large scale aerial bombardment and a ground offensive, wiping the area clean and destroying thousands of military targets that Hezbollah has set up inside population centers.