Monday, May 7, 2012

Israel: Did IDF hold secret chemical drill?

Army, police representatives say chlorine-like odor that caused scare in central Israel a result of 'unknown gas' used in military drill; IDF later issues official denial of reports

Officials say they still don't know the source of the chlorine-like smell that caused a scare among hundreds of thousands of residents in the centeral Israel, but some reports suggest the foul smell was a result of a military drill.

Earlier Thursday, Ramat HaSharon Mayor Itzik Rochberger claimed the IDF's Home Front Command informed him of the odor's source but did not share the information with Ministry of Environment.

"Why was there no synchronization between officials," the mayor said, but did not reveal the exact nature of the substance.

Meanwhile, a central Israel resident suffering from a disease requiring chemotherapy was told by IDF officials that the substance which caused the foul odor was used in the framework of a military drill in Ramat Gan, just north of Tel Aviv.

The resident, Yael, recorded her conversation with an IDF Home Front command representative who revealed the information, and later spoke to police officials who said the material was spread by the Navy. However, officials refused to tell her what the substance was.

Yael, who was concerned about heading out for fear the smell could endanger her given her illness, spoke with various officials throughout the day, and shared the recordings with Ynet.

"The smell resulted from an IDF Home Front Command drill in Ramat Gan" an IDF representative told her. "This drill is being held by a certain Home Front unit, and we don't know precisely what gas is being used."

The army official claimed the substance was not poisonous. Read More