Sirens Sound Around IDF HQ in Central Tel Aviv; Drill Only Announced After the Fact

Military says sirens were part of a 'surprise drill' at army headquarters

File photo: Air raid sirens in Israel.
Ze'ev Stern

Sirens sounded around Israel's Defense Ministry in central Tel Aviv in a drill on Monday. The drill, however, was only announced after the sirens sounded.

The military and police said the sirens were part of a "surprise drill" taking place at IDF headquarters. The announcement only came after a large number of residents called emergency services and some entered shelters.

The incident reminded local residents of when Israeli jet fighters appeared over the skies of central Israel in April, alarming citizens as they circled low amid rising tensions in the Middle East. It was later revealed to be an unannounced flyover rehearsal for Israel's Independence Day celebrations. The army later appologized for causing the scare.

During the flyover, Israeli jets fired flares from a system designed to counter anti-aircraft missiles. For a layman watching, these could seem like missile fire from the fighter jets.

The IDF usually notifies the public regarding training drills involving increased military activity.

Calls from concerned Tel Aviv residents poured into police hotlines, prompting the Israeli Defense Forces to clarify it was a training drill. Many Israelis went on social media and criticized the fact that there was no early notice in the media - particulalry in light of Iran's recent threats to exact revenge on Israel for the strike in Syria.