Israel to build shelters against bio-chemical bombs

Shelters will accommodate civilians in case of chemical or biological attack.

Jerusalem: Israeli defence force is mapping out locations in major cities to build shelters to accommodate its civilians in case of chemical or biological military strikes, according to local media.

"Israel is preparing to set up additional large underground spaces which will be able to accommodate tens of thousands of people and protect them from unconventional weaponry," Lt Col Ronny Seri of the Home Front Command told local daily Yediot Aharonot.

Concerned with Iran`s continued nuclear programme, the Jewish state is no less alarmed over reports that Tehran is already in possession of unconventional weapons, including chemical and biological agents, which can be mounted on long-range ballistic missiles in a potential strike.

Israeli intelligence estimates Hezbollah and Hamas will be able to lob long-range missiles from Lebanese territory and from within the Gaza Strip into most parts of Israel, reports Xinhua.

Jerusalem will be the first to have its own mass-capacity shelter, which is being fitted out beneath a new train station complex currently at the entrance to the city.

The under-construction shelter`s main hall, 80 meters below ground, is expected to hold up to 5,000 people for an extended period. The facility includes an advanced air-filtration system, a medical triage centre and communication gear.

The tunnels of the Jerusalem facility, which will link the city to coastal Tel Aviv some 60 km away, are already under construction.

In Tel Aviv, a central shelter is due to be built below the premises of the city`s historic Habima theatre complex. It joins a massive bomb shelter already built under the Tel Aviv main bus terminal -- one of the largest in the Middle East.

Additional shelters in the Tel Aviv area will be built at 10 light-railway stations that are currently in the planning stages, as well in the northern port city of Haifa, the report said.