Press TV – March 4, 2012
Israel has been transforming the parking lot of Tel Aviv’s Habima National Theater into a sophisticated bomb shelter, the Associated Press reported.
Roi Flyshman, spokesman for Israeli civil defense ministry, said the make-shift shelter, four stories underground and capable of accommodating up to 1,600 people, is “very advanced” and could serve as a blueprint for others.
He added that plenty of parking lots in Israel can become shelters, adding, “We want to copy from Habima to other places.”
Last week, senior Israeli lawmaker Zeev Bielski said Tel Aviv’s defense capabilities do not rise high enough to protect Israel in case of a retaliatory attack by Iran.
Almost one in four Israelis lack access to bomb shelters, whether communal or reinforced rooms in private homes, Bielski said.
The safety measures come as Israel has recently stepped up its threats of a military aggression against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear energy program. Israeli officials say the timing is coincidental.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program and have used this pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic and to call for a military strike against Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Tel Aviv officials have recently put the US President Barack Obama administration under pressure to adopt a more aggressive policy regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program.
In a White House meeting on Monday, Netanyahu is expected to press Obama for an explicit threat of a military action against Tehran beyond the regular “all options on the table” mantra, should Iran refuse to abandon its nuclear energy program in the wake of the recently intensified sanctions.
Iran has repeatedly refuted the Western allegations regarding its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iranian officials have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.