- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2006


TEL AVIV — Weekend shoppers continued to pack cafes and shops in Israel’s largest city yesterday, as civil defense officials prepared public bomb shelters for possible rocket assaults from Hezbollah.

“This is Tel Aviv. People here don’t care if they live or die. In any case, there’s a bomb shelter down below,” said a shift manager at one of the city’s central cafes.

Peace activists even staged a demonstration, with about 1,000 chanting, “Yes to negotiations. No to war” while walking through downtown Tel Aviv last night.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threatened on Thursday to retaliate for attacks on Beirut with rocket strikes on Tel Aviv, speeding up preparations in this cosmopolitan city of 1.5 million.

“We’ve established seven evacuation centers which can absorb 10,000 [rockets],” said Robi Zoulouf, a municipal official, told Israeli army radio.

Rockets fired from Lebanon hit their deepest targets inside Israel on Thursday, striking the town of Hadera, about 25 miles north of Tel Aviv. No one was hurt, but the attack underscored Tel Aviv’s vulnerability to the recent addition of longer-range rockets to Hezbollah’s arsenal.

The militant Shi’ite group has begun firing some Khaibar-1 rockets, which have a greater range and bigger explosive payloads than the Katyusha rockets used on targets in northern Israel.

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