JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's national home front exercise is routine and not the result of a worsening security situation, Benjamin Netanyahu said.
In announcing the exercise, which will include warning sirens throughout the country, Israel's prime minister said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting that "This is a routine exercise that has been scheduled for some time. I would like to make it clear that it is not the result of any exceptional security development.
" On the contrary, Israel aspires towards calm, stability and peace. However, it is no secret that we live in a region that is under the threat of missiles and rockets."
The exercises began Sunday and will run throughout the week. It marks the fourth consecutive year that the exercises are being held.
On Wednesday, a 90-second siren will be heard throughout the country at 11 a.m., at which time all residents will go to their nearest protective shelter and remain there for about 10 minutes, according to the Israeli army.
New gas mask kits will be distributed on a test basis in several communities during the week.
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